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Author Topic: No, we weren't stupid for 40 years  (Read 4534 times)

Omega

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Re: No, we weren't stupid for 40 years
« Reply #120 on: June 11, 2021, 10:44:34 AM »
This propensity to pick an outlier and pretend it's the norm is one of the major issues of Post-Modern pathology. The fact that an outlier exists does mean they are equal. By forcing that issue it undermines the whole purpose of the exercise (that Drow and Orcs are evil) - which is the real goal.

This sort of pedanticness was why I quit two Star Frontiers e-groups because they did exactly this to serve their own ends. An artist bungled an illustration? Oh look that is proof that this thing EXISTS in game! It really really does!

Reckall

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Re: No, we weren't stupid for 40 years
« Reply #121 on: June 11, 2021, 10:47:06 AM »
Let's have Good Demons and Good Devils. And they'll all be inclusive, so it's really Humanity that's "evil" - not the small "e".
25 years of urban fantasy has normalized this part. Good vampires and demons are super common, and conversely, if you find an angel, it's probably the bad guy.

Both "Hellblazer" and "Planescape: Torment" have angels who turn out to be the bad guys, and they are cool characters. But they work because they do represent an anomaly in their universes.

Anyway, once all vampires will be good and all angels bad, the movement will become "Let's take the angels back!"
For every idiot who denounces Ayn Rand as "intellectualism" there is an excellent DM who creates a "Bioshock" adventure.

HappyDaze

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Re: No, we weren't stupid for 40 years
« Reply #122 on: June 11, 2021, 11:06:00 AM »
Let's have Good Demons and Good Devils. And they'll all be inclusive, so it's really Humanity that's "evil" - not the small "e".
25 years of urban fantasy has normalized this part. Good vampires and demons are super common, and conversely, if you find an angel, it's probably the bad guy.

Both "Hellblazer" and "Planescape: Torment" have angels who turn out to be the bad guys, and they are cool characters. But they work because they do represent an anomaly in their universes.

Anyway, once all vampires will be good and all angels bad, the movement will become "Let's take the angels back!"
Supernatural tried the last one, with Castiel being (almost) the only (mostly) good angel around. Of course, he's already gone back and forth a few times and practically caused one or more apocalypses through his own actions, so...

oggsmash

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Re: No, we weren't stupid for 40 years
« Reply #123 on: June 11, 2021, 01:34:03 PM »
 I blame the movie  The Prophecy and Christopher Walken for making the idea of Angel gone bad look so attractive to pop culture. 

  But I did enjoy the movie a lot, and it does make more sense that in a human welfare sense, Angels would be completely amoral in carrying out their duties, as they know god will save the souls of the good people should there be collateral damage.

Valatar

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Re: No, we weren't stupid for 40 years
« Reply #124 on: June 11, 2021, 03:01:10 PM »
Wait... what universe are you from? Did you read Queen of the Demonweb Pits? By extension the many RPG books about the Underdark? The novels? By 3e Eilistrae was an extreme outlier that had to be worshipped in secret.

This propensity to pick an outlier and pretend it's the norm is one of the major issues of Post-Modern pathology. The fact that an outlier exists does mean they are equal. By forcing that issue it undermines the whole purpose of the exercise (that Drow and Orcs are evil) - which is the real goal.

To what end? It has nothing to do with creating conflict in which to engage the game. It's purely for political ideology. So great we have Good Orcs and Good Drow. Let's have Good Demons and Good Devils. And they'll all be inclusive, so it's really Humanity that's "evil" - not the small "e".

And once everyone is narratively made "Good" in equal amounts... the PC's will ultimately be the bad guy because all they wanna do is stab monsters and get gold. They'll need to make struggle-session mechanics where the Drow corner the PC's to make them understand that this whole time for the last 40+ years of D&D they are the actual monsters denying the Drow, Orcs and Demons their respective "Truths".

(It changes nothing! I draw my blade!)

I'm not stating that Eilistrae-loving good drow are an appreciable percentage of drow, but that their existence proves that the species is not utterly hardwired for evil and spiders, and as such the attempts to "correct" them in recent WotC books are dumb.  There've been not-evil drow from the get-go, just not in enough numbers that I'd choose to turn my back on a random drow and not expect a knife for my trouble.  Spelljammer also had examples of non-evil (or less-evil might be more accurate) beholders and illithid who weren't just disintegrating and brain-eating everything in sight and could engage in civil discourse.  They were still inhuman creatures who prioritized their wants over other species, but not every interaction with them had to end in a bloodbath.  Plus space elves were giant pricks, so that was a nice twist.

Ghostmaker

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Re: No, we weren't stupid for 40 years
« Reply #125 on: June 11, 2021, 06:47:04 PM »
Wait... what universe are you from? Did you read Queen of the Demonweb Pits? By extension the many RPG books about the Underdark? The novels? By 3e Eilistrae was an extreme outlier that had to be worshipped in secret.

This propensity to pick an outlier and pretend it's the norm is one of the major issues of Post-Modern pathology. The fact that an outlier exists does mean they are equal. By forcing that issue it undermines the whole purpose of the exercise (that Drow and Orcs are evil) - which is the real goal.

To what end? It has nothing to do with creating conflict in which to engage the game. It's purely for political ideology. So great we have Good Orcs and Good Drow. Let's have Good Demons and Good Devils. And they'll all be inclusive, so it's really Humanity that's "evil" - not the small "e".

And once everyone is narratively made "Good" in equal amounts... the PC's will ultimately be the bad guy because all they wanna do is stab monsters and get gold. They'll need to make struggle-session mechanics where the Drow corner the PC's to make them understand that this whole time for the last 40+ years of D&D they are the actual monsters denying the Drow, Orcs and Demons their respective "Truths".

(It changes nothing! I draw my blade!)

I'm not stating that Eilistrae-loving good drow are an appreciable percentage of drow, but that their existence proves that the species is not utterly hardwired for evil and spiders, and as such the attempts to "correct" them in recent WotC books are dumb.  There've been not-evil drow from the get-go, just not in enough numbers that I'd choose to turn my back on a random drow and not expect a knife for my trouble.  Spelljammer also had examples of non-evil (or less-evil might be more accurate) beholders and illithid who weren't just disintegrating and brain-eating everything in sight and could engage in civil discourse.  They were still inhuman creatures who prioritized their wants over other species, but not every interaction with them had to end in a bloodbath.  Plus space elves were giant pricks, so that was a nice twist.
That's been my point as well. All this virtue signaling is doubly stupid because the battles they want to fight have already been fought.

Reckall

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Re: No, we weren't stupid for 40 years
« Reply #126 on: June 11, 2021, 07:23:44 PM »
Plus space elves were giant pricks, so that was a nice twist.

When in my 13 years long campaign the party reached the Moonshaes they were saved from the Blood Riders by a charge of the female elven paladins out of Synnoria (long story). The following battle was of the kind that defines "epic" in D&D. So, at the end, the party turned gratefully towards the paladinettes...

...Only to be summarily thrown in the local version of Guantanamo (yes, even the token elf ranger - after all he was from elsewhere too) and kept there until "their position was clarified".

When it was, the local elven council kicked the party into the next timezone and forbid it to ever return under penalty of death (no nice cures or gift of nice magic objects in the meanwhile).

Boy, I never saw a group of player turning so "racist" towards all elves (yes, even the token elven ranger turned racist) so fast.

The fun part for me, the DM, was that the Synnorians behaved in the only possible way given their culture, what they knew and what they learned about the characters. No one ever wrote that "Meeting the elves!" means "Free magic gifts in a candle shop with Enya!"
For every idiot who denounces Ayn Rand as "intellectualism" there is an excellent DM who creates a "Bioshock" adventure.

Darrin Kelley

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Re: No, we weren't stupid for 40 years
« Reply #127 on: June 11, 2021, 07:44:37 PM »
How about not buyijng the book? You don't like how it is written? Talk with your wallet.

I haven't touched Ravenloft since AD&D 2nd Edition. Because I haven't liked what the writers have done since. And to be honest? I don't want to.

The Ravenloft setting is a classic. The best time for it was AD&D 2nd Edition. That was MY depiction. It's what I liked. The rest doesn't interest me. So they ain't getting money for new editions from me.
 

Shasarak

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Re: No, we weren't stupid for 40 years
« Reply #128 on: June 11, 2021, 08:25:15 PM »
Let's have Good Demons and Good Devils. And they'll all be inclusive, so it's really Humanity that's "evil" - not the small "e".
25 years of urban fantasy has normalized this part. Good vampires and demons are super common, and conversely, if you find an angel, it's probably the bad guy.

There will be poor always,
pathetically struggling,
look at the good things you've got! -  Jesus

BoxCrayonTales

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Re: No, we weren't stupid for 40 years
« Reply #129 on: June 11, 2021, 08:33:57 PM »
So, you can read "The Doom that Came to Innsmouth" as a fun escapist deep dive in the mind of a monster, or as the symbolic description of the psyche of an individual whose acts and beliefs are... clearly presented as repellent, monstrous and totally unacceptable anyway. I really don't see where your problem lies.
I don't see a difference. For all the statements of being "alien" they still act basically human, even down to the religious extremism, misogyny, racism, and justifying their actions as not being any of those things with "facts" and "logic." (For the record, prostitutes are not the only vulnerable members of society. Whenever a serial killers targets them specifically, its always implicated in misogyny.)

The human characters in the story don't come across as sympathetic, either. If it wasn't for the "racism is totally justified against those evil fish people, honest!" part, then their actions would come across as racist and reminiscent of Nazi experiments.

It's just repellent (which isn't a difficult response to evoke, btw) and uninteresting to me. It's just the political opposite of "The Litany of Earth." In that story the deepies are angels who can do no wrong, and here they're devils in the flesh against whom genocide really is completely justified.

This story isn't deep or meaningful, or especially respectful of Lovecraft's story. I'm sure he would find the story repellent for its sexually explicit nature, but I digress.

Continuing to regurgitate the stale trite "fish people are evil, kill them all" message is not an especially interesting premise to me.

Also, the explicit comparisons in both stories between fish people and real persecuted is pretty repugnant. Real minorities are neither angels nor demons, they're human beings. Some are innocent, but that doesn't mean all are. Some are spies or terrorists, but that doesn't mean all are.

Both stories read like blatant propaganda pieces. Aphra is a textbook SJW, Bob is a textbook mass shooter. They're not deep ones: they're human beings cosplaying as fish.

I don't know what else to tell you. Maybe it's just the result of that whole "people of different politics have different personality biases" or something.

Reckall

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Re: No, we weren't stupid for 40 years
« Reply #130 on: June 12, 2021, 09:17:49 AM »
I don't know what else to tell you. Maybe it's just the result of that whole "people of different politics have different personality biases" or something.
Maybe. I feel that it is more "recognising fiction as fiction".

Which doesn't mean that fiction can't have a political message for the real world. A sterling example is "Starship Trooper" (don't worry, I won't go down that rabbit hole...) Heinlein makes clear that he is speaking about the human society at large, and that "The Bugs" are little more than a McGuffin. I personally find it a hell of a novel even if you totally disagree with Heinlein's ideas. Mobile Suit Gundam was directly inspired by ST, BTW.

Then Joe Haldeman, a veteran of the Vietnam War who hated Heinlein book, writes his "answer" in "The Forever War", an anti-war sci-fi novel which is also a hell of a book (even if it lacks Heinlein's sophistication). Haldeman also weaves his ideas in the events, avoiding Heinlein's loooooooooong speeches by his characters. Heinlein, however, has the edge in showing that the real world is more complex that a couple of slogans.

But in both books there are humans (and only humans) talking about very real and still relevant issues about militarisation, war and society at large.

"The Doom that Came to Innsmouth"? Dunno, I can't find a way to better express myself. The acts by the Deep One are repellent. OK, maybe it is even more misogynist than I thought. This only adds to the disgust. At the end, IMHO, only someone already mentally ill can "sympathise" with the Deep One. There is no material for debate in this tale, only a straightforward condemnation of some acts and beliefs as "monstrous".
« Last Edit: June 12, 2021, 09:19:44 AM by Reckall »
For every idiot who denounces Ayn Rand as "intellectualism" there is an excellent DM who creates a "Bioshock" adventure.

dungeon crawler

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Re: No, we weren't stupid for 40 years
« Reply #131 on: June 12, 2021, 09:35:45 AM »
I've made this comment before, but it bears repeating.

These endless attempts to redefine gamers of the past (and their games) as somehow 'wrong' really, really pisses me off.

We were the outcasts, the geeks, the nerds, the guys (and occasional girl) who didn't fit in, so we built our own little place. It wasn't perfect, but we tried to work past our own social inadequacies, and at least treat our companions the way we wanted to be treated. Yeah, there were bad apples; show me a group that never had any. I'll wait. I won't hold my breath though.

Where the fuck were these fucking shitbirds when we were getting mocked, shoved into lockers, and treated like potted plants? They sure as fuck weren't there. Where do they get off telling us how 'problematic' things were?

Fuck them.
They are the children and grandchildren of the people who shoved us into lockers and mocked us. Just like their Elders they think they are our betters. They are mad because we have not submitted to their whims and we must be destroyed.

Ghostmaker

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Re: No, we weren't stupid for 40 years
« Reply #132 on: June 12, 2021, 09:38:27 AM »
Plus space elves were giant pricks, so that was a nice twist.

When in my 13 years long campaign the party reached the Moonshaes they were saved from the Blood Riders by a charge of the female elven paladins out of Synnoria (long story). The following battle was of the kind that defines "epic" in D&D. So, at the end, the party turned gratefully towards the paladinettes...

...Only to be summarily thrown in the local version of Guantanamo (yes, even the token elf ranger - after all he was from elsewhere too) and kept there until "their position was clarified".

When it was, the local elven council kicked the party into the next timezone and forbid it to ever return under penalty of death (no nice cures or gift of nice magic objects in the meanwhile).

Boy, I never saw a group of player turning so "racist" towards all elves (yes, even the token elven ranger turned racist) so fast.

The fun part for me, the DM, was that the Synnorians behaved in the only possible way given their culture, what they knew and what they learned about the characters. No one ever wrote that "Meeting the elves!" means "Free magic gifts in a candle shop with Enya!"
You know, the elves of Lorien weren't exactly the most welcoming hosts initially either. For that matter, the Mirkwood elves weren't exactly friendly (though the dwarves managed to blow every diplomacy check on that one).

So yeah, it's not exactly unprecedented.

BoxCrayonTales

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Re: No, we weren't stupid for 40 years
« Reply #133 on: June 12, 2021, 11:20:59 AM »
I don't know what else to tell you. Maybe it's just the result of that whole "people of different politics have different personality biases" or something.
Maybe. I feel that it is more "recognising fiction as fiction".

Which doesn't mean that fiction can't have a political message for the real world. A sterling example is "Starship Trooper" (don't worry, I won't go down that rabbit hole...) Heinlein makes clear that he is speaking about the human society at large, and that "The Bugs" are little more than a McGuffin. I personally find it a hell of a novel even if you totally disagree with Heinlein's ideas. Mobile Suit Gundam was directly inspired by ST, BTW.

Then Joe Haldeman, a veteran of the Vietnam War who hated Heinlein book, writes his "answer" in "The Forever War", an anti-war sci-fi novel which is also a hell of a book (even if it lacks Heinlein's sophistication). Haldeman also weaves his ideas in the events, avoiding Heinlein's loooooooooong speeches by his characters. Heinlein, however, has the edge in showing that the real world is more complex that a couple of slogans.

But in both books there are humans (and only humans) talking about very real and still relevant issues about militarisation, war and society at large.

"The Doom that Came to Innsmouth"? Dunno, I can't find a way to better express myself. The acts by the Deep One are repellent. OK, maybe it is even more misogynist than I thought. This only adds to the disgust. At the end, IMHO, only someone already mentally ill can "sympathise" with the Deep One. There is no material for debate in this tale, only a straightforward condemnation of some acts and beliefs as "monstrous".
I think both Doom and Litany are flawed.

Both draw comparisons between fish people and real persecuted minorities, but come to seemingly opposite conclusions. Both treat fish people as essentially identical in psychology to human beings.

I don’t think Doom even effectively makes the case that the deepies are inherently evil, at least no more than the humans they fight. Both sides are basically assholes who treat each other in racist fashion while considering themselves superior. It’s like the Nazis versus the Taliban.

If you switched the positions of the humans and deepies in Doom, then the story wouldn’t meaningfully change. It’s still Nazis vs Taliban. I don’t know if that was intentional on the author’s part.

The deepies in both stories are essentially human. Their piscine nature doesn’t make them meaningfully different from humans in a psychological sense. Even though it really should. Living forever and swimming in three dimensions should have a huge effect on their psychology, but we see no evidence of that.

This isn’t what I would consider cosmic horror.

Valatar

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Re: No, we weren't stupid for 40 years
« Reply #134 on: June 12, 2021, 04:43:12 PM »
The cosmic horror isn't that there are fish people, but that they started off human.  That was the whole deal with Shadow over Innsmouth, Olmstead was a human, or so he believed, and actively worked against the deep ones, but by the end of the story his connection with them had corrupted his mind and body to the point that he went out to join them.  The human/deep one hybrids didn't pop out fishy from the get-go, or evil from the get-go, but became so over decades.  Someone who hadn't gone far along the transformation would still be human, or human-ish, so a hybrid narrator for a story coming across as mostly human isn't really a deal breaker.  Their eventual fate, however, would be wholly inhuman, and by then they'd be welcoming it.  That's where the horror kicks in.