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Author Topic: The Chronic Fatigue Barbarian is a Real (Not Parody) New D&D Subclass  (Read 6895 times)

jhkim

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Re: The Chronic Fatigue Barbarian is a Real (Not Parody) New D&D Subclass
« Reply #180 on: September 15, 2021, 12:11:00 PM »
Dala and Dick are lovers. They likely have a sexual relationship, but perhaps not. In the scope of the game, it doesn't matter if they have a sexual relationship, what kind of sex they've had, etc. They are lovers and that is sufficient for their motivation as NPCs, and being lovers is actually greater motivation than whatever flavor of sexuality they have. Dala could be trans, Dick could be gay and closeted, there could be any combination of sexuality between the two. The fact that they are lovers is all we need to know to run them as NPCs.

I think usually the term "lovers" is intended to imply a sexual relationship -- but even if we disagree, this seems like only a technical difference.

From what you're saying, do you have any issue with a module saying that two male NPCs are lovers? From what I've seen of gay characters in modules in recent years, they're often careful or ambiguous in their language about the couple. They'll often use language even less direct than calling them lovers.

rytrasmi

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Re: The Chronic Fatigue Barbarian is a Real (Not Parody) New D&D Subclass
« Reply #181 on: September 15, 2021, 01:04:08 PM »
I think usually the term "lovers" is intended to imply a sexual relationship -- but even if we disagree, this seems like only a technical difference.

From what you're saying, do you have any issue with a module saying that two male NPCs are lovers? From what I've seen of gay characters in modules in recent years, they're often careful or ambiguous in their language about the couple. They'll often use language even less direct than calling them lovers.
A technical difference, maybe. It would depend on the setting. In a modern setting, lovers probably means sex. In some bizarro medieval fantasy world, who knows.

To answer your question, it depends on the setting. D&D has a strongly implied straight setting (for lack of a better word) for whatever reason, probably a combination of bias/ignorance with the original creators and also the source material. It's modeled after medieval times and back then non-straight sexuality, as others have said, was an indulgence for the upper classes because 95% of regular people had to procreate as a matter of survival. There likely were gay peasants who had illicit liaisons, but we don't know those stories because history doesn't concern peasants.

So, in a module with two male NPC lovers, it's likely muted because of expectations regarding the setting. Are these expectations there because of intolerance or because of some half-assed historical accuracy? Yes. To what proportion? Who knows.

I don't have an issue with gay PCs or NPCs. However, most settings would need modification to have it make sense. I think part of the reticence you might be facing is that you can't just add openly gay characters to a setting without significant changes to the setting to make sense.

Anyway, I don't play D&D, so I won't comment further. The game I'm playing a lot of now (Aquelarre) acknowledges homosexuality and treats it with reasonable historic accuracy. You can have a gay PC or NPC but you need to be careful because it's viewed as a sin. It you're a noble it might just be viewed as a quirk or indulgence. If you're a peasant, you could be killed for it.
 

tenbones

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Re: The Chronic Fatigue Barbarian is a Real (Not Parody) New D&D Subclass
« Reply #182 on: September 15, 2021, 04:54:35 PM »
I don't care about dickering around who fucks who in the books. That's for the table.

I'm more interested in what other "grievances" should be represented? Seriously. How far are we to split this pubic-hair we found in our favorite soup, in order to justify your position, before it loses it's cohesion.

This is Entropy at its rhetorical finest (i.e. worst) masquerading under semantics as some kind of logical conversation.

"What do you call a barrel of shit when you put a teaspoon of fine wine into it?" - A barrel of shit.
"What do you call a barrel of fine wine when you put a teaspoon of shit into it?" - A barrel of shit.

jhkim

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Re: The Chronic Fatigue Barbarian is a Real (Not Parody) New D&D Subclass
« Reply #183 on: September 16, 2021, 11:07:53 AM »
Anyway, I don't play D&D, so I won't comment further. The game I'm playing a lot of now (Aquelarre) acknowledges homosexuality and treats it with reasonable historic accuracy. You can have a gay PC or NPC but you need to be careful because it's viewed as a sin. It you're a noble it might just be viewed as a quirk or indulgence. If you're a peasant, you could be killed for it.

That's sounds fine to me - and that sounds similar to how Pundit describes gay characters in his Albion setting. I've run a number of historical campaigns which have been similar. I don't own or play Aquelarre, so I'm curious. From online reviews, it sounds like Aquelarre characters are likely to have dangerous sins of other sorts - like doing magic or being Jewish. So clash with the church is an expected part of the game. Is that the case?

As for D&D and other RPGs...

So, in a module with two male NPC lovers, it's likely muted because of expectations regarding the setting. Are these expectations there because of intolerance or because of some half-assed historical accuracy? Yes. To what proportion? Who knows.

I don't have an issue with gay PCs or NPCs. However, most settings would need modification to have it make sense. I think part of the reticence you might be facing is that you can't just add openly gay characters to a setting without significant changes to the setting to make sense.

You're alternate between "gay" with "openly gay" in your phrasing, but the two are very different. Just like Albion and Aquelarre don't need setting changes to have gay characters, I don't think other settings do either.

Gay people have existed in every society in history. In Christian Europe, gay characters will tend to be clandestine depending on their social situation - but they'll still exist - as Albion and apparently Aquelarre portray. Even there, 20th century history books tend to be far more prudish in portraying history than actual medieval Europeans were. In many other settings such as pagan Europe, ancient Greece, or medieval India, some sort of homosexual behavior is fully open. Pundit has mentioned before that there is a transgender (or rather third-gendered) character on the cover of his Arrows of Indra RPG.

As for fantasy settings, it depends. D&D has a current default setting of Faerun (aka Forgotten Realms), created by Ed Greenwood in the 1980s. Greenwood has said in later posts that as he envisioned it, Faerun had no general stigma on homosexuality. On the one hand, that was edited out by TSR at the time, but conversely, they never contradicted it either - and there are even a few published cases of implied-gay couples in early works.

Other fantasy settings are often undefined how society views gay people.

rytrasmi

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Re: The Chronic Fatigue Barbarian is a Real (Not Parody) New D&D Subclass
« Reply #184 on: September 16, 2021, 12:25:49 PM »
That's sounds fine to me - and that sounds similar to how Pundit describes gay characters in his Albion setting. I've run a number of historical campaigns which have been similar. I don't own or play Aquelarre, so I'm curious. From online reviews, it sounds like Aquelarre characters are likely to have dangerous sins of other sorts - like doing magic or being Jewish. So clash with the church is an expected part of the game. Is that the case?
The game has a very interesting dynamic among Christians, Muslims, Jews, and Pagans/Devil Worshippers/Heretics/Witches/Etc. Many things are sins to many different people. And there absolutely is conflict with the church and conflict within the church, and it recognizes that the church is not a unified and entirely wholesome entity. There is a lot of black, white, and grey, but clash with the church is expected if you're a witch, mage, or whatever. On the other hand, you can play a militant Christian knight and hunt witches. Or a Muslim Dervish, and so on. A mix of people can even be friends and comrades because people don't think sociologically when creating relationships.

You're alternate between "gay" with "openly gay" in your phrasing, but the two are very different. Just like Albion and Aquelarre don't need setting changes to have gay characters, I don't think other settings do either.

Gay people have existed in every society in history. In Christian Europe, gay characters will tend to be clandestine depending on their social situation - but they'll still exist - as Albion and apparently Aquelarre portray. Even there, 20th century history books tend to be far more prudish in portraying history than actual medieval Europeans were. In many other settings such as pagan Europe, ancient Greece, or medieval India, some sort of homosexual behavior is fully open. Pundit has mentioned before that there is a transgender (or rather third-gendered) character on the cover of his Arrows of Indra RPG.
Yes, I agree. In historically authentic settings, it's pretty simple to include all kinds of people because they did exist in actual history. The framework is there, and if this is not anticipated at the table that's the fault of the players/GM for not knowing their history. How a gay (or other) character behaves and is treated should be pretty evident from the setting: likely closeted in a medieval farming village, but probably open in an ancient Greek setting.

I think we agree more or less. You (or anyone) would be welcome to play a gay character in my game of Aquelarre and you seem to understand that it might increase the difficulty a bit. It could be interesting.

As for fantasy settings, it depends. D&D has a current default setting of Faerun (aka Forgotten Realms), created by Ed Greenwood in the 1980s. Greenwood has said in later posts that as he envisioned it, Faerun had no general stigma on homosexuality. On the one hand, that was edited out by TSR at the time, but conversely, they never contradicted it either - and there are even a few published cases of implied-gay couples in early works.

Other fantasy settings are often undefined how society views gay people.
I did not know that about Forgotten Realms.

I'm perfectly fine with including gay people in fantasy settings. However, just dropping them in as if it were 2021 can be jarring to the setting itself or to the preconceived ideas that people have about the setting.

Extreme example: a medieval-ish village where 10% of farms are run by openly gay couples. Okay, fine we are inclusive, but how to they compete with hetero couples that can breed free labor? How does the lord of the land view them considering that his prestige is based on how productive his land is and how many soldiers he can rally when his lord calls on him. Hetero farmers have a big advantage here, so it's not farfetched to image that the lord would disenfranchise gay couples in favor of hereto ones. The setting needs to account for it. Perhaps adoption or slavery is widespread and this gives gay couples equal footing. If so, those circumstances would need to be explained, too. It's certainly possible. I'm just using an extreme example to illustrate a point, and not to argue that it would be very difficult.

Setting consistency is vital to immersion. I'm not saying it can't or shouldn't be done. It needs to be done thoughtfully and deliberately otherwise it looks like a modern agenda dropped into a "traditional" setting.

jhkim

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Re: The Chronic Fatigue Barbarian is a Real (Not Parody) New D&D Subclass
« Reply #185 on: September 17, 2021, 01:21:41 PM »
I think we agree more or less. You (or anyone) would be welcome to play a gay character in my game of Aquelarre and you seem to understand that it might increase the difficulty a bit. It could be interesting.

Sounds good. I'm more curious about Aquelarre now, but it might be hard to find players. I had a good Harn group for a while, but I haven't found players as interested in historical games lately.


As for fantasy settings, it depends. D&D has a current default setting of Faerun (aka Forgotten Realms), created by Ed Greenwood in the 1980s. Greenwood has said in later posts that as he envisioned it, Faerun had no general stigma on homosexuality. On the one hand, that was edited out by TSR at the time, but conversely, they never contradicted it either - and there are even a few published cases of implied-gay couples in early works.

Other fantasy settings are often undefined how society views gay people.

I did not know that about Forgotten Realms.

I'm perfectly fine with including gay people in fantasy settings. However, just dropping them in as if it were 2021 can be jarring to the setting itself or to the preconceived ideas that people have about the setting.

For a historical setting, it's easy to incorporate gay characters since they can be the way they were in history. Likewise, I'd say that in Faerun it is at least defined by the creator. But the question is, what is the right way to introduce gay characters into other fantasy settings? For most settings, they aren't defined as punishing homosexuality the way that Christian Europe did - or having a designated social class like the kliba in India, or the onnagata in Japan - or having open homosexual behavior like ancient Greece and others. Instead, it's left undefined how homosexuality is regarded.

I guess, can you give examples of what you think of as good, non-jarring ways that gay characters have been included in fantasy settings?

Ghostmaker

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Re: The Chronic Fatigue Barbarian is a Real (Not Parody) New D&D Subclass
« Reply #186 on: September 17, 2021, 02:58:09 PM »
Here’s the other thing about “gay” vs. well, any other minority. It’s NOT something you can know about just by looking at someone. Do you know if the person checking you out at the grocery is gay, straight, asexual or secretly a robot?

True story: one of my coworkers in my last job was gay. I didn't realize it until like a year in.

Him: "What the hell? How did you NOT know I was gay?"
Me: "Dude, I just figured you had good fashion sense and liked computers!"

...Yeah, sometimes my social awareness is a little rusty.

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Shasarak, minor deity of sarcasm...

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RPGPundit

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Re: The Chronic Fatigue Barbarian is a Real (Not Parody) New D&D Subclass
« Reply #187 on: September 17, 2021, 04:59:34 PM »

For a historical setting, it's easy to incorporate gay characters since they can be the way they were in history. Likewise, I'd say that in Faerun it is at least defined by the creator. But the question is, what is the right way to introduce gay characters into other fantasy settings? For most settings, they aren't defined as punishing homosexuality the way that Christian Europe did - or having a designated social class like the kliba in India, or the onnagata in Japan - or having open homosexual behavior like ancient Greece and others. Instead, it's left undefined how homosexuality is regarded.



Again, I feel I should note that there's NO period in any culture in ancient history where "homosexuality" was treated the way it is treated in the modern west for the past 30 years or so.

So when you talk about "open homosexual behavior in ancient Greece" it should be noted that it looked nothing like what homosexuality looks like in 2021 USA.

In the ancient Greco-Roman world, homosexuality was not considered abnormal. Many people engaged in it. Most of them wouldn't suggest that was a special identity to them.

Adolescent boys were often put into relationships with adult men; being public about this relationship was seen as shameful and humiliating, but mainly for the boy.

Most adult men who engaged in homosexual activity were also married, and had children. They fulfilled their responsibilities to society, and it was not a huge deal for them to go fuck effeminate men or boys. When someone failed to fulfill their social duties, and it was attributed to their lust for other males, it was shameful (like it was for Maecenas).

In general, there was seen to be no shame in being the guy doing the fucking. But for a guy to be fucked was seen as shameful and weak. This is why when Julius Caesar's enemies said that "Caesar is every woman's man, and every man's woman" it was meant to humiliate him.
This is a recurring theme throughout history in various cultures where homosexuality was tolerated, not universal, but significant enough to jump across big divides space and time and cultures, where it is considered acceptable or even powerful to be the "top" but being the "bottom" is considered shameful and emasculating.
To this day, that sort of attitude still exists in some highly Macho Latin cultures, for example in Colombia and parts of Central America, where a "maricon" is only someone who is a bottom.

So essentially, there were sort of two ways to be "gay" in the pre-christian West, neither of which look anything like how to "be gay" in the 21st century west, and these sexual identities we have today are constructed and not universal.
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jhkim

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Re: The Chronic Fatigue Barbarian is a Real (Not Parody) New D&D Subclass
« Reply #188 on: September 17, 2021, 07:05:59 PM »
For a historical setting, it's easy to incorporate gay characters since they can be the way they were in history. Likewise, I'd say that in Faerun it is at least defined by the creator. But the question is, what is the right way to introduce gay characters into other fantasy settings? For most settings, they aren't defined as punishing homosexuality the way that Christian Europe did - or having a designated social class like the kliba in India, or the onnagata in Japan - or having open homosexual behavior like ancient Greece and others. Instead, it's left undefined how homosexuality is regarded.

In general, there was seen to be no shame in being the guy doing the fucking. But for a guy to be fucked was seen as shameful and weak. This is why when Julius Caesar's enemies said that "Caesar is every woman's man, and every man's woman" it was meant to humiliate him.
This is a recurring theme throughout history in various cultures where homosexuality was tolerated, not universal, but significant enough to jump across big divides space and time and cultures, where it is considered acceptable or even powerful to be the "top" but being the "bottom" is considered shameful and emasculating.

I know that's true of the pre-Christian Norse - Lee Gold's article that I linked earlier talks about that in more detail. But as you say, it isn't universal. As far as I know, being third gender is un-masculine but not shameful in Hindu culture. Similar is true of shamans in a number of cultures. I'm most familiar with Lakota shamans - who wear women's clothes and are sometimes called "two spirit". I'm less sure about others. ​Among European cultures, I know that Greek author Diodorus Siculus wrote about British Celts in Roman times:

Quote
Although they have good-looking women, they pay very little attention to them, but are really crazy about having sex with men. They are accustomed to sleeping on the ground on animal skins and roll around naked with male bed-mates on both sides. Heedless of their own dignity, they abandon without qualm the bloom of their bodies to others. And the most incredible thing is that they do not find this shameful. When they proposition someone, they consider it dishonourable if he doesn’t accept the offer!

He might have been wrong or exaggerating - but I heard that other authors of the period say similar.

So essentially, there were sort of two ways to be "gay" in the pre-christian West, neither of which look anything like how to "be gay" in the 21st century west, and these sexual identities we have today are constructed and not universal.

From my reading, there are more than two ways to be gay. I think attitudes towards LGBT issues are at least as varied as marriage customs between different cultures. There are some common patterns, but also a lot of differences. And yes, they are constructed and not universal.

But again, in history, it's easy to include gay or LGBT characters. I had been talking about typical fantasy worlds. Many fantasy worlds aren't like real history in anything more than cosmetic ways.

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Re: The Chronic Fatigue Barbarian is a Real (Not Parody) New D&D Subclass
« Reply #189 on: September 19, 2021, 06:11:57 PM »
For a historical setting, it's easy to incorporate gay characters since they can be the way they were in history. Likewise, I'd say that in Faerun it is at least defined by the creator. But the question is, what is the right way to introduce gay characters into other fantasy settings? For most settings, they aren't defined as punishing homosexuality the way that Christian Europe did - or having a designated social class like the kliba in India, or the onnagata in Japan - or having open homosexual behavior like ancient Greece and others. Instead, it's left undefined how homosexuality is regarded.

In general, there was seen to be no shame in being the guy doing the fucking. But for a guy to be fucked was seen as shameful and weak. This is why when Julius Caesar's enemies said that "Caesar is every woman's man, and every man's woman" it was meant to humiliate him.
This is a recurring theme throughout history in various cultures where homosexuality was tolerated, not universal, but significant enough to jump across big divides space and time and cultures, where it is considered acceptable or even powerful to be the "top" but being the "bottom" is considered shameful and emasculating.

I know that's true of the pre-Christian Norse - Lee Gold's article that I linked earlier talks about that in more detail. But as you say, it isn't universal. As far as I know, being third gender is un-masculine but not shameful in Hindu culture. Similar is true of shamans in a number of cultures. I'm most familiar with Lakota shamans - who wear women's clothes and are sometimes called "two spirit". I'm less sure about others.

Correct. There was also a difference between "third gender" and "homosexual activity". These were not considered part of the same thing in most cultures. Among cultures (like in India, and many other places) that had a third-gender category, that was seen as a difference in gender role, which was basically separate from sexuality. Some cultures that had a third-gender category also had tolerance of homosexual activity, and some didn't (a good modern example being Iran, where the government will pay for you to get 'gender reassignment surgery' if you identify as a woman and considers that fine, but will put you to death if you're a man engaged in homosexual activity).

So again, an important point is that almost all our definitions about sexuality (certainly about anything other than heterosexual sexuality) or gender (certainly anything other than 'cisgender'), but probably even including our understandings of what 'heterosexual' or 'cisgender' mean (though to a lesser degree than the other categories) is not some kind of scientific absolute based on objective reality. It is absolutely a social construct. The same person with the same sexual attraction or gender concepts would have been categorized and would have understood themselves and their role in society completely different. None of the categories we use today in 21st century western society apply at all to the understanding of sexuality or gender in other historical periods or cultures.


Quote
So essentially, there were sort of two ways to be "gay" in the pre-christian West, neither of which look anything like how to "be gay" in the 21st century west, and these sexual identities we have today are constructed and not universal.

From my reading, there are more than two ways to be gay.

Well, quite possibly yes; I should probably have said "in the classical pre-christian Greco-roman civilization" rather than the entire pre-christian west. Because as you point out about the Celts (and the germans, etc) they had different understandings from the Romans and Greeks too.

Quote
I think attitudes towards LGBT issues are at least as varied as marriage customs between different cultures. There are some common patterns, but also a lot of differences. And yes, they are constructed and not universal.

But again, in history, it's easy to include gay or LGBT characters. I had been talking about typical fantasy worlds. Many fantasy worlds aren't like real history in anything more than cosmetic ways.

Sure, but doing so in a way that you have what are completely modern 2021 seattle LGBT+ concepts in a fantasy world is anachronistic regardless, in the same way as, say, having people using modern day slang or playing modern music or going to prom or having wal-mart style stores or having modern style democratic elections. If a GM doesn't care about being anachronistic, I guess they can go ahead and do that, but on some level it's going to look and feel ridiculous (which is why modern anachronisms are effective in certain styles of Gonzo play).
If you want your world to not be gonzo and to feel more real, whether or not you base your social norms on real historical sources, it's still much less lazy to come up with concepts that are different social norms than our own modern ones. Which is part of why I so strongly oppose the current trend/demand from SJW Designers that every setting needs to have 2021 Seattle Values.
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Re: The Chronic Fatigue Barbarian is a Real (Not Parody) New D&D Subclass
« Reply #190 on: September 20, 2021, 12:26:02 PM »
The two-ways for being "gay" like the Andrew Dice Clay definition of gay? That was pretty clear to most people. How much more nuance do you need?