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Author Topic: No racist characters allowed  (Read 4724 times)

kidkaos2

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No racist characters allowed
« on: October 14, 2021, 09:29:34 PM »
So having kind of liked the old Colonial Gothic game I checked out the new version Flames of Freedom on Drivethru and found the designers had gone woke between the old edition and the new one.  It has some general woke nonsense like saying you should, not can, use X cards to prevent traumatizing people in the game and having a Native American man in 1776 that uses "they" as his pronoun, and announcing the development team included

But what I'm interested in here is where in the new game it is against the rules to play a character who is sexist towards women, wantonly kill innocent people, or purchase the labor contract of an indentured servant and you are expected to play characters with diverse religious beliefs.  I wonder what peoples' feelings are about this being included in the rules.  It strikes me as unethical for a game designer to tell players what personality traits their characters are not allowed to have, what religions their characters should believe in, or what actions the characters are not allowed to take.  I've seen recent games that go to excessive lengths to indicate how inclusive they are, but this is the first time I've seen one that makes it AGAINST THE RULES to have a racist character.  On the one hand, it's the designer's game and they can obviously make whatever rules they want, and I'm all for including rules that include game mechanics for personality where appropriate such as in Pendragon, but on the other hand it strikes me as unethical for a roleplaying game designer to tell his customers that they aren't allowed to play characters with certain personality traits and/or aren't allowed to have their characters engage in certain behaviors.  Even though the rules are obviously easily ignored, it still seems to violate the spirit of a roleplaying game.  I'm curious about other players and game designers' thoughts about this.

shoplifter

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Re: No racist characters allowed
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2021, 09:41:32 PM »
Isn't that by the Zweihander guy? Not surprised it's pozzed. I was going to check it out, but not now.

jhkim

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Re: No racist characters allowed
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2021, 09:46:15 PM »
On the one hand, it's the designer's game and they can obviously make whatever rules they want, and I'm all for including rules that include game mechanics for personality where appropriate such as in Pendragon, but on the other hand it strikes me as unethical for a roleplaying game designer to tell his customers that they aren't allowed to play characters with certain personality traits and/or aren't allowed to have their characters engage in certain behaviors.  Even though the rules are obviously easily ignored, it still seems to violate the spirit of a roleplaying game.  I'm curious about other players and game designers' thoughts about this.

I'm not familiar with the specific game - but in general, I don't think every RPG needs to allow every type of character. In some games, it's simply inappropriate to make a merciless lone wolf assassin, for example. TSR's Marvel Superheroes, for example, was pretty clear with its karma system that anti-heroes like the Punisher or Deadpool weren't PC material. On the other hand, some games are intentionally about playing malicious bastards, and it doesn't work to play a goody-two-shoes. Some games there are random-roll personality traits from among a limited set, and you don't get your choice of whatever you like. Some mini-games have only premade characters, and no option to create your own.

I don't think it's unethical for a given game design to only allow a limited range of characters. If you don't like the range of characters offered, you're free to change the game or buy a different game.

HappyDaze

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Re: No racist characters allowed
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2021, 10:01:11 PM »
On the one hand, it's the designer's game and they can obviously make whatever rules they want, and I'm all for including rules that include game mechanics for personality where appropriate such as in Pendragon, but on the other hand it strikes me as unethical for a roleplaying game designer to tell his customers that they aren't allowed to play characters with certain personality traits and/or aren't allowed to have their characters engage in certain behaviors.  Even though the rules are obviously easily ignored, it still seems to violate the spirit of a roleplaying game.  I'm curious about other players and game designers' thoughts about this.

I'm not familiar with the specific game - but in general, I don't think every RPG needs to allow every type of character. In some games, it's simply inappropriate to make a merciless lone wolf assassin, for example. TSR's Marvel Superheroes, for example, was pretty clear with its karma system that anti-heroes like the Punisher or Deadpool weren't PC material. On the other hand, some games are intentionally about playing malicious bastards, and it doesn't work to play a goody-two-shoes. Some games there are random-roll personality traits from among a limited set, and you don't get your choice of whatever you like. Some mini-games have only premade characters, and no option to create your own.

I don't think it's unethical for a given game design to only allow a limited range of characters. If you don't like the range of characters offered, you're free to change the game or buy a different game.
There's a 140 page preview. The "no racist characters" bit is in general author virtue signaling speak. There's nothing in the rules text that prevents playing whatever type of asshole PC you want.

shoplifter

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Re: No racist characters allowed
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2021, 10:04:37 PM »
^^^
That's at least good to know that it isn't explicitly against the rules, but I guess I don't know why the author even needed to go on a screed about it. I'll check out the preview to get a sense for it.



I don't think it's unethical for a given game design to only allow a limited range of characters. If you don't like the range of characters offered, you're free to change the game or buy a different game.


I think it's a little different to say that you can't play a character that follows standard 18th century norms in a game set in the 18th century. I think we all agree that those things are wrong, but those things can also constitute an excellent roleplaying opportunity.

GeekyBugle

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Re: No racist characters allowed
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2021, 10:05:48 PM »
Isn't that by the Zweihander guy? Not surprised it's pozzed. I was going to check it out, but not now.

Well, it's the same publisher and it says "Powered by Zweihander RPG"
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SHARK

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Re: No racist characters allowed
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2021, 10:41:02 PM »
Greetings!

Roll up a dashing, uber-Alpha masculine bastard that is a total Imperialist, Colonizing, misogynistic, and racist monster. Watch the fun unfold! *Laughing* Go forth and let the party dominate and plough through every sacred cow and special snow-flake icon that the game has established. Keep some cold beer handy, and light up some good cigars along the way. ;D

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
"It is the Marine Corps that will strip away the façade so easily confused with self. It is the Corps that will offer the pain needed to buy the truth. And at last, each will own the privilege of looking inside himself  to discover what truly resides there. Comfort is an illusion. A false security bred from familiar things and familiar ways. It narrows the mind. Weakens the body. And robs the soul of spirit and determination. Comfort is neither welcome nor tolerated here."

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but is doing what you have to, in spite of the fear."
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HappyDaze

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Re: No racist characters allowed
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2021, 11:04:14 PM »
Greetings!

Roll up a dashing, uber-Alpha masculine bastard that is a total Imperialist, Colonizing, misogynistic, and racist monster. Watch the fun unfold! *Laughing* Go forth and let the party dominate and plough through every sacred cow and special snow-flake icon that the game has established. Keep some cold beer handy, and light up some good cigars along the way. ;D

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
And, despite the virtue signaling od the author(s), there's nothing in the game's mechanics that would prevent you from playing the game this way (just like there's nothing in D&D's mechanics that would prevent you from playing a game centered on avoiding conflict).

kidkaos2

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Re: No racist characters allowed
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2021, 11:40:07 PM »
On the one hand, it's the designer's game and they can obviously make whatever rules they want, and I'm all for including rules that include game mechanics for personality where appropriate such as in Pendragon, but on the other hand it strikes me as unethical for a roleplaying game designer to tell his customers that they aren't allowed to play characters with certain personality traits and/or aren't allowed to have their characters engage in certain behaviors.  Even though the rules are obviously easily ignored, it still seems to violate the spirit of a roleplaying game.  I'm curious about other players and game designers' thoughts about this.

I'm not familiar with the specific game - but in general, I don't think every RPG needs to allow every type of character. In some games, it's simply inappropriate to make a merciless lone wolf assassin, for example. TSR's Marvel Superheroes, for example, was pretty clear with its karma system that anti-heroes like the Punisher or Deadpool weren't PC material. On the other hand, some games are intentionally about playing malicious bastards, and it doesn't work to play a goody-two-shoes. Some games there are random-roll personality traits from among a limited set, and you don't get your choice of whatever you like. Some mini-games have only premade characters, and no option to create your own.

I don't think it's unethical for a given game design to only allow a limited range of characters. If you don't like the range of characters offered, you're free to change the game or buy a different game.

Maybe I wasn't clear.  The examples you gave were all of games where the character choices were dictated by the game setting.  This is a case where the choices are dictated by modern politics, not the game setting.  It is, in fact, against the setting.  The setting is 1776, and the personality and behavior rules are based on 2021 diversity values.  In 1776 it was standard for immigrants who couldn't afford passage on a ship to pre-sell their labor in indentured servant contracts, but the game specifically forbids this.  This isn't a case of forbidding lone wolf comic book heroes because they don't play well with a party-based game. 

This is saying the real 1776 was a racist and sexist place with indentured servants and Puritan colonies but the designers don't like that so they made rules that you aren't  allowed to play a character who is sexist, racist, or homophobic and shouldn't play mostly Christian characters.  It's the opposite of what you talked about - it's not removing elements that don't work for the game setting, it's removing any elements of the authentically historical 18th century from the game and forcing players to play modern social justice warrior characters with nonbinary pronouns in an American Revolution themed game.  Completely different situation than the ones you gave as examples or the example I gave of Pendragon where including moral codes of conduct are appropriate as chivalry is part of the setting.

HappyDaze

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Re: No racist characters allowed
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2021, 11:59:42 PM »
On the one hand, it's the designer's game and they can obviously make whatever rules they want, and I'm all for including rules that include game mechanics for personality where appropriate such as in Pendragon, but on the other hand it strikes me as unethical for a roleplaying game designer to tell his customers that they aren't allowed to play characters with certain personality traits and/or aren't allowed to have their characters engage in certain behaviors.  Even though the rules are obviously easily ignored, it still seems to violate the spirit of a roleplaying game.  I'm curious about other players and game designers' thoughts about this.

I'm not familiar with the specific game - but in general, I don't think every RPG needs to allow every type of character. In some games, it's simply inappropriate to make a merciless lone wolf assassin, for example. TSR's Marvel Superheroes, for example, was pretty clear with its karma system that anti-heroes like the Punisher or Deadpool weren't PC material. On the other hand, some games are intentionally about playing malicious bastards, and it doesn't work to play a goody-two-shoes. Some games there are random-roll personality traits from among a limited set, and you don't get your choice of whatever you like. Some mini-games have only premade characters, and no option to create your own.

I don't think it's unethical for a given game design to only allow a limited range of characters. If you don't like the range of characters offered, you're free to change the game or buy a different game.

Maybe I wasn't clear.  The examples you gave were all of games where the character choices were dictated by the game setting.  This is a case where the choices are dictated by modern politics, not the game setting.  It is, in fact, against the setting.  The setting is 1776, and the personality and behavior rules are based on 2021 diversity values.  In 1776 it was standard for immigrants who couldn't afford passage on a ship to pre-sell their labor in indentured servant contracts, but the game specifically forbids this.  This isn't a case of forbidding lone wolf comic book heroes because they don't play well with a party-based game. 

This is saying the real 1776 was a racist and sexist place with indentured servants and Puritan colonies but the designers don't like that so they made rules that you aren't  allowed to play a character who is sexist, racist, or homophobic and shouldn't play mostly Christian characters.  It's the opposite of what you talked about - it's not removing elements that don't work for the game setting, it's removing any elements of the authentically historical 18th century from the game and forcing players to play modern social justice warrior characters with nonbinary pronouns in an American Revolution themed game.  Completely different situation than the ones you gave as examples or the example I gave of Pendragon where including moral codes of conduct are appropriate as chivalry is part of the setting.
Yet, despite the demand for enforced diversity, the designers insist that all characters must speak English!

jhkim

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Re: No racist characters allowed
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2021, 12:28:58 AM »
I'm not familiar with the specific game - but in general, I don't think every RPG needs to allow every type of character. In some games, it's simply inappropriate to make a merciless lone wolf assassin, for example. TSR's Marvel Superheroes, for example, was pretty clear with its karma system that anti-heroes like the Punisher or Deadpool weren't PC material. On the other hand, some games are intentionally about playing malicious bastards, and it doesn't work to play a goody-two-shoes. Some games there are random-roll personality traits from among a limited set, and you don't get your choice of whatever you like. Some mini-games have only premade characters, and no option to create your own.

I don't think it's unethical for a given game design to only allow a limited range of characters. If you don't like the range of characters offered, you're free to change the game or buy a different game.

Maybe I wasn't clear.  The examples you gave were all of games where the character choices were dictated by the game setting.  This is a case where the choices are dictated by modern politics, not the game setting.  It is, in fact, against the setting.

The only concrete example I gave was Marvel Superheroes, where you effectively aren't allowed to play antiheroes like Deadpool or the Punisher because of the karma rules. But Deadpool and the Punisher are, in fact, characters in the Marvel setting. So that isn't a setting rule -- it's just a game restriction.

Again, I don't know the specific game yet, so I'm not arguing about that. Maybe that game sucks in every possible way.

But you've leapt from "X game sucks" to "no game should ever restrict the personality of PCs" -- which I think is an unwarranted leap. Specifically, your claim here:

it strikes me as unethical for a roleplaying game designer to tell his customers that they aren't allowed to play characters with certain personality traits and/or aren't allowed to have their characters engage in certain behaviors.


HappyDaze

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Re: No racist characters allowed
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2021, 12:31:19 AM »
I'm not familiar with the specific game - but in general, I don't think every RPG needs to allow every type of character. In some games, it's simply inappropriate to make a merciless lone wolf assassin, for example. TSR's Marvel Superheroes, for example, was pretty clear with its karma system that anti-heroes like the Punisher or Deadpool weren't PC material. On the other hand, some games are intentionally about playing malicious bastards, and it doesn't work to play a goody-two-shoes. Some games there are random-roll personality traits from among a limited set, and you don't get your choice of whatever you like. Some mini-games have only premade characters, and no option to create your own.

I don't think it's unethical for a given game design to only allow a limited range of characters. If you don't like the range of characters offered, you're free to change the game or buy a different game.

Maybe I wasn't clear.  The examples you gave were all of games where the character choices were dictated by the game setting.  This is a case where the choices are dictated by modern politics, not the game setting.  It is, in fact, against the setting.

The only concrete example I gave was Marvel Superheroes, where you effectively aren't allowed to play antiheroes like Deadpool or the Punisher because of the karma rules. But Deadpool and the Punisher are, in fact, characters in the Marvel setting. So that isn't a setting rule -- it's just a game restriction.

Again, I don't know the specific game yet, so I'm not arguing about that. Maybe that game sucks in every possible way.

But you've leapt from "X game sucks" to "no game should ever restrict the personality of PCs" -- which I think is an unwarranted leap. Specifically, your claim here:

it strikes me as unethical for a roleplaying game designer to tell his customers that they aren't allowed to play characters with certain personality traits and/or aren't allowed to have their characters engage in certain behaviors.
Even Wolverine killed so many folks that he effectively would never have Karma in the MSH rpg. Good thing he's already the best at what he does, cuz he ain't gett'n no better.

Pat

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Re: No racist characters allowed
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2021, 12:45:46 AM »
Even Wolverine killed so many folks that he effectively would never have Karma in the MSH rpg. Good thing he's already the best at what he does, cuz he ain't gett'n no better.
Not when the MSH game came out. Bronze Age Wolvie was known as the guy who would kill if he needed to, but it almost never happened in practice.

This was even encouraged in the game, because killing didn't just nuke your own Karma, it nuked any Karma pools the character belonged to. So if Wolvie went berserk and sliced and diced something with more autonomy than a Sentinel, the X-Men were fucked.

MSH worked fine for Bronze Age characters, including Wolvie and Punisher. Deadpool doesn't count, because he didn't appear until the Iron Age, and MSH is poorly suited for the Iron Age.

HappyDaze

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Re: No racist characters allowed
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2021, 12:54:34 AM »
Even Wolverine killed so many folks that he effectively would never have Karma in the MSH rpg. Good thing he's already the best at what he does, cuz he ain't gett'n no better.
Not when the MSH game came out. Bronze Age Wolvie was known as the guy who would kill if he needed to, but it almost never happened in practice.

This was even encouraged in the game, because killing didn't just nuke your own Karma, it nuked any Karma pools the character belonged to. So if Wolvie went berserk and sliced and diced something with more autonomy than a Sentinel, the X-Men were fucked.

MSH worked fine for Bronze Age characters, including Wolvie and Punisher. Deadpool doesn't count, because he didn't appear until the Iron Age, and MSH is poorly suited for the Iron Age.
I didn't really read X-men before 1986...and I got MSH around then too. IIRC, by then, Wolverine was killing fairly often (Marauders, Reavers, Hellfire Club Henchmen, etc.).

jhkim

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Re: No racist characters allowed
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2021, 12:59:44 AM »
This was even encouraged in the game, because killing didn't just nuke your own Karma, it nuked any Karma pools the character belonged to. So if Wolvie went berserk and sliced and diced something with more autonomy than a Sentinel, the X-Men were fucked.

MSH worked fine for Bronze Age characters, including Wolvie and Punisher. Deadpool doesn't count, because he didn't appear until the Iron Age, and MSH is poorly suited for the Iron Age.

OK, but aside from specifics of HappyDaze, doesn't that confirms what I said about the general point? The MSH RPG effectively restricted what the personality of the characters could be. The players can't choose to be Iron Age antiheroes like Deadpool, and they can't choose to be villains.

Plenty of other RPGs also restrict or at least have advice about the behavior of characters. I recall that Space:1889 had some verbiage about having PCs behave appropriately as well (I don't have it on hand to check).