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  1. 1. Would you want a bigoted setting?

    • Yes
      48
    • No
      12


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This is likely a contentious issue.

 

Personally, when it comes to medieval fantasy I prefer the setting to be rife with sexism, racism and all the other kinds of bigotry that plagued antiquity. Multicultural societies should be have deep racial and cultural tensions, mixed racial and mixed species couples should be an anomally often met with scorn, women in traditionally "masculine" roles should be a rarity and discriminated against and so on and so forth.

 

The A Song of Ice and Fire setting would be an excellent example of this.

 

So the question I ask is would you prefer a setting rife with all the bigotry of medieval society or would you prefer a setting with more modern values?

 

 

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There are so many good and well reasoned arguments inherent in the question that I for one cannot really answer. This is escapism, and i'm sure some women wish to play strong characters who are not subjected to this kind of behaviour, as a break from their percieved gender roles. A bit of a harmless power fantasy. Then you have the verisimilitude of the setting to think of, which I for one hold to be very important lest it come across as a renaissance fayre sim, but if there are good and logical reasons for the absence of such attitudes then I don't really mind. Then again you could have such a flawed, realistic world, and the upsetting of these prejudices be an integral part of the experience, so that you are playing a Brienne of Tarth role and bucking the established roles, and also highlighting your characters uniqueness.

 

Personally i've often liked playing an underdog, an ogre or half orc in Arcanum, a casteless Dwarf in Origins, the mutant freak Geralt in the Witcher games etcetera. Proving myself through deeds and defying the established status quo, taking a bloody minded enjoyment in my pariah position. I can however understand that a lot of people will opt for the much safer archetypes, and expect to face no challenges or any kind of negative reaction. For me that presents a rather dull and unbelievable world, but they may prefer that such issues are not included or even acknowledged as existing in a medieval fantasy.

 

It's a thorny subject to be sure.

Edited by Nonek

Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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I'm all for a more hateful, spiteful world with discrimination based on race or ethnicity. All that conflict is good fodder for stories, after all.

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I didn't vote in the poll because it's too simplistic. My answer is that it depends on whether those are themes that the writers want to devote the proper amount of energy, tact, and insight into exploring. I don't want them to merely include rampant bigotry out of some misguided desire to appear "accurate" or "authentic" (lol, it's a made-up world, they get to define what's authentic and what isn't).

 

To take the A Song of Ice and Fire example, George R. R. Martin depicts a deeply misogynistic and patriarchal society, sure, but he doesn't just include it as an afterthought and then focus on bros fighting orcs or something. Roughly half of the POV characters are women, and he takes the time to explore how they struggle and adapt in such a society, since it's obviously a theme that interests him. On the other hand, he's less interested in exploring race relations, so he doesnt't bother to establish a fundamentally racist or apartheid setting.

 

From what we've seen so far, Obsidian don't seem too interested in exploring sexism in Project Eternity, and racism will focus more on stuff like the mistreatment of Orlans rather than human-on-human persecution. I approve of this approach. If they don't have much to say on these topics at the moment, it's better to establish a setting where players of any race, sex, gender, or orientation can feel comfortable. And if a writer at Obsidian does end up wanting to explore these topics, they can always introduce an additional culture or faction.

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...women in traditionally "masculine" roles should be a rarity and discriminated against and so on and so forth...

 

This part is tough, because if you happen to choose a female for your main character, almost all of the dialogue would have to be different to reflect the fact that many people will be biased against you.  If it's not different, then it's that familiar scene in video games where your character is the only person in the world that doesn't follow the rules that all other people follow, and it won't feel natural.

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Personally, when it comes to medieval fantasy I prefer the setting to be rife with sexism, racism and all the other kinds of bigotry that plagued antiquity.

 

This made me lol. Not trying to be a jerk or anything, but apparently sexism, racism and other kinds of bigotry no longer plague us? Come now, friend: be a little more reasonable. Unless you're part of the privileged class/race/sex/etc, you'd be aware that stuff like this still goes on. *rant off*

 

Otherwise, carry on.

Edited by Hormalakh
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My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

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I didn't vote in the poll because it's too simplistic. My answer is that it depends on whether those are themes that the writers want to devote the proper amount of energy, tact, and insight into exploring. I don't want them to merely include rampant bigotry out of some misguided desire to appear "accurate" or "authentic" (lol, it's a made-up world, they get to define what's authentic and what isn't).

 

To take the A Song of Ice and Fire example, George R. R. Martin depicts a deeply misogynistic and patriarchal society, sure, but he doesn't just include it as an afterthought and then focus on bros fighting orcs or something. Roughly half of the POV characters are women, and he takes the time to explore how they struggle and adapt in such a society, since it's obviously a theme that interests him. On the other hand, he's less interested in exploring race relations, so he doesnt't bother to establish a fundamentally racist or apartheid setting.

 

From what we've seen so far, Obsidian don't seem too interested in exploring sexism in Project Eternity, and racism will focus more on stuff like the mistreatment of Orlans rather than human-on-human persecution. I approve of this approach. If they don't have much to say on these topics at the moment, it's better to establish a setting where players of any race, sex, gender, or orientation can feel comfortable. And if a writer at Obsidian does end up wanting to explore these topics, they can always introduce an additional culture or faction.

 

This, pretty much. 

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I voted no, mainly because such issues tend to vampirize another interesting subjects. Besides, they are already getting studied to death in other works.

It's also been done before in Arcanum, Dragon Age and The Witcher and it didn't bring anything new on the table. Especially in Witcher games where it's an unavoidable part of the setting. 

If P:E want to be something new and original, they should deal with more advanced issues, like communitarianism, globalization and soft-power, where a dominating country is supplanting other cultures for its own. Instead of blatant bigotry, it should go further, not telling you the world think women are the weakest gender, but why has it come to this. Maybe there is a good reason behind this. Maybe it was all born from a desire to protect said women from wars, diseases or whatever.

Come to think of it, P:E won't have a dark setting so it probably won't happen. I'm thankful for that.

 

Finally, if I'm playing an elf, I'd life to move around without getting insulted over my pointy ears. It's boring and unfunny.

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I voted no, mainly because such issues tend to vampirize another interesting subjects. Besides, they are already getting studied to death in other works.

It's also been done before in Arcanum, Dragon Age and The Witcher and it didn't bring anything new on the table. Especially in Witcher games where it's an unavoidable part of the setting. 

If P:E want to be something new and original, they should deal with more advanced issues, like communitarianism, globalization and soft-power, where a dominating country is supplanting other cultures for its own. Instead of blatant bigotry, it should go further, not telling you the world think women are the weakest gender, but why has it come to this. Maybe there is a good reason behind this. Maybe it was all born from a desire to protect said women from wars, diseases or whatever.

Come to think of it, P:E won't have a dark setting so it probably won't happen. I'm thankful for that.

 

Finally, if I'm playing an elf, I'd life to move around without getting insulted over my pointy ears. It's boring and unfunny.

 

Wow this was deeply insightful. Good.

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My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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I've got to disagree, I think elves should be roundly chastised by all and sundry on general principle.

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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Socialist Realism is only good for kitsch value. A cRPG should not stoop to that. All forms of bigotry make for good story and setting material. Utopias breed few heroes and make for boring stories.

 

What I don't like is gamemakers oblivious to their own privilege who just make their imagined worlds pander to that. I have no fears on that score however, knowing who's writing for P:E. I also don't like transparently didactic stuff, even if I agree with the politics. There's always a subtext, but I don't want it rubbed in my face TYVM.

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Voted yes, it would be a dull game and would in no way reflect reality if everyone was politically correct all the time, nothings more boring than a game world that is so sanitised even the bad guys are PC

 

whats needed is some well written dialogue choices or threats for the player to snap back at the bigots/sexists if he/she chooses...should the player be able to be bigoted or sexist? that's roleplaying but it's also a can of worms...

 

I think a couple of bigoted or sexist companions would be fun too...like baldurs gate had outrageous sexists like Viconia and Shar teel ;)

Edited by motorizer
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I seems Dyrwood will have racial tensions anyway, as there seems to be a semi-colonial theme going between races. In fact, the Orlan especially are constantly oppressed by the bigger races. With that said, I would rather the topic of prejudice be handled sensibly and thoughtfully, not just dark and oppressive for the sake of being dark and oppressive. That gets just as boring just as quickly.

 

I personally see little point in racism or sexism just for the sake of having it. "Dark fantasy" settings that serve no purpose but to depress or infuriate the audience can be just as boring and pointless as utopias because it's the same predictable spiel in reverse. Plus, many people already have to deal with prejudice and discrimination enough that they don't wish to have it shoved in their face in escapist fiction. (Fantasy is, at its core, escapist fiction.) It might be historically accurate for a medieval setting, but then Medieval Europeans did not have everyday magic, polytheist religions, magical creatures, or sapient fantasy races like elves, orlan or aumaua running around. If we can have a world where magic and fantasy races exist, we can have a world where discrimination is not as overt without it being less "realistic."

Edited by Faerunner
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"Not I, though. Not I," said the hanging dwarf.

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I want a setting in which I can say whatever I want.

I can be a champion of minorities and the shining beacon of Political Correctness , and I can also be super-extra-racist, sexist and religionist.

 

Or something like that.

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I voted no, mainly because such issues tend to vampirize another interesting subjects. Besides, they are already getting studied to death in other works.

It's also been done before in Arcanum, Dragon Age and The Witcher and it didn't bring anything new on the table. Especially in Witcher games where it's an unavoidable part of the setting. 

If P:E want to be something new and original, they should deal with more advanced issues, like communitarianism, globalization and soft-power, where a dominating country is supplanting other cultures for its own. Instead of blatant bigotry, it should go further, not telling you the world think women are the weakest gender, but why has it come to this. Maybe there is a good reason behind this. Maybe it was all born from a desire to protect said women from wars, diseases or whatever.

Come to think of it, P:E won't have a dark setting so it probably won't happen. I'm thankful for that.

 

Personally, I really like dark settings when they're executed well. A well-executed dark fantasy setting can create a great mixture of horror and dread. A poorly-executed dark setting just tries to go as over the top as possible purely for the sake of one-upping other works. I'm not asking for Columbia or Golarion here.

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I liked the "bigoted" parts of Arcanum setting. It had you thinking about solutions to problems most of us don't encounter often in everyday life nowadays. Also, it was very immersive, especially with details such as the dark elves - in any other game, the reclusive xenophobes probably inexplicably wouldn't have minded a dwarf moving about their premises. In Arcanum, their racism is very explicit and that's exactly how I would imagine it to be. I think ignoring issues such as racism, patriarchy, social differences and so on just make you seem naïve and stupid. Of course I don't want to force the player into any bigotry (for example WH40K with space marines...), I don't think we need that level of "grimdarkness", the goal is only to make the world feel plausible.

 

I think it gives an extra layer to the setting: besides invented races, religions and cultures we also have invented social prejudices. A lot of fantasy worlds just lets us assume everyone is as tolerant as today. It's really a stupid convention. Things ought to be different.

 

I think the right way to go about female characters is to have some prejudices, but not make it overwhelming. Again, Arcanum is good example. I've always been very irritated with fantasy worlds where females suddenly are more on equal terms with men than even in today's society, without any explanation.

"Well, overkill is my middle name. And my last name. And all of my other names as well!"

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Im for it.

 

The best sexism and racisn in game was propably in Witcher. Women where there only to one purpuse for most men, and elfes where day by day atackt by humans that hated them ....

 

In DAO they TRIED to do something like that (elven servants etc) but it stopt when they even started. Propably becouse of EA who are makeing games as childish as possible so ...

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Socialist Realism is only good for kitsch value. A cRPG should not stoop to that. All forms of bigotry make for good story and setting material. Utopias breed few heroes and make for boring stories.

 

What I don't like is gamemakers oblivious to their own privilege who just make their imagined worlds pander to that. I have no fears on that score however, knowing who's writing for P:E. I also don't like transparently didactic stuff, even if I agree with the politics. There's always a subtext, but I don't want it rubbed in my face TYVM.

I didn't vote in the poll because it's too simplistic. My answer is that it depends on whether those are themes that the writers want to devote the proper amount of energy, tact, and insight into exploring. I don't want them to merely include rampant bigotry out of some misguided desire to appear "accurate" or "authentic" (lol, it's a made-up world, they get to define what's authentic and what isn't).

 

To take the A Song of Ice and Fire example, George R. R. Martin depicts a deeply misogynistic and patriarchal society, sure, but he doesn't just include it as an afterthought and then focus on bros fighting orcs or something. Roughly half of the POV characters are women, and he takes the time to explore how they struggle and adapt in such a society, since it's obviously a theme that interests him. On the other hand, he's less interested in exploring race relations, so he doesnt't bother to establish a fundamentally racist or apartheid setting.

 

From what we've seen so far, Obsidian don't seem too interested in exploring sexism in Project Eternity, and racism will focus more on stuff like the mistreatment of Orlans rather than human-on-human persecution. I approve of this approach. If they don't have much to say on these topics at the moment, it's better to establish a setting where players of any race, sex, gender, or orientation can feel comfortable. And if a writer at Obsidian does end up wanting to explore these topics, they can always introduce an additional culture or faction.

I voted no, mainly because such issues tend to vampirize another interesting subjects. Besides, they are already getting studied to death in other works.

It's also been done before in Arcanum, Dragon Age and The Witcher and it didn't bring anything new on the table. Especially in Witcher games where it's an unavoidable part of the setting. 

If P:E want to be something new and original, they should deal with more advanced issues, like communitarianism, globalization and soft-power, where a dominating country is supplanting other cultures for its own. Instead of blatant bigotry, it should go further, not telling you the world think women are the weakest gender, but why has it come to this. Maybe there is a good reason behind this. Maybe it was all born from a desire to protect said women from wars, diseases or whatever.

Come to think of it, P:E won't have a dark setting so it probably won't happen. I'm thankful for that.

 

Finally, if I'm playing an elf, I'd life to move around without getting insulted over my pointy ears. It's boring and unfunny.

 

I like these posts. I think pretty much everything I wanted to say has already been said.

 

I also want to add my support for seeing new issues examined. Isn't PE set in a world of colonialist expansion? The topic of cultural assimilation seems pretty relevant to me in that case.

 

In order to add something to the discussion, my view is that whether there's bigotry or not in the setting, it shouldn't forget that the game can be played by people of any race, sex, gender, or orientation, and that they have the same right to have fun as the rest. That doesn't mean that the game should avoid these topics though, just that the player shouldn't have less agency because of them. If that means that overt discrimination to the point of being attacked on sight by quest givers isn't possible, then the game will have to be more subdued about it. Covert bigotry is just as realistic, after all.

 

Not that I'm concerned about Obsidian getting it wrong, but I wanted to put that there.

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I'm for it but only in tasteful amounts as it adds a bit of depth to the world. A peppering of racist/sexist NPCs provide interest, realism, and contrast but take it too far and it detracts from the overall experience. The last thing I want is this sort of thing added for shock value or some awful attempt at being gritty/dark/mature.

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Come now... couldn't we just settle for little-otry?

 

8)

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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It's certainly makes it feel more realistic. It seems to be a natural thing (and unfortunately not something that only plagued antiquity). I would like to see it, but there's always the problem of rating. I never understood why even Mature rated games had to pass through a fine-tooth comb before being approved, with so much being omitted I think developers don't even try any more with some of the things. For instance, the romance scenes in Mass Effect 1 got so much attention that they (despite being rated a Mature game) had to tone it down quite a bit for the next games. 

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I voted no, mainly because such issues tend to vampirize another interesting subjects. Besides, they are already getting studied to death in other works.

It's also been done before in Arcanum, Dragon Age and The Witcher and it didn't bring anything new on the table. Especially in Witcher games where it's an unavoidable part of the setting. 

If P:E want to be something new and original, they should deal with more advanced issues, like communitarianism, globalization and soft-power, where a dominating country is supplanting other cultures for its own. Instead of blatant bigotry, it should go further, not telling you the world think women are the weakest gender, but why has it come to this. Maybe there is a good reason behind this. Maybe it was all born from a desire to protect said women from wars, diseases or whatever.

Come to think of it, P:E won't have a dark setting so it probably won't happen. I'm thankful for that.

 

Personally, I really like dark settings when they're executed well. A well-executed dark fantasy setting can create a great mixture of horror and dread. A poorly-executed dark setting just tries to go as over the top as possible purely for the sake of one-upping other works. I'm not asking for Columbia or Golarion here.

 

 

 

I can't tell if you're endorsing Columbia, or not. I haven't yet finished Infinite because the setting seemed to beat my brow with its themes and names and images that come from real life. That player who got a refund because he objected to an unavoidable, unannounced in-game religious incident is an example, albeit extreme. Perhaps the "ending" will change my attitude, but I guess racism and bigotry, etc., are better dealt with when part of a less recognizable setting. I mean, I was totally emotionally involved in the plight of nearly every individual and race on the Citadel that my paragon FemShep character encountered ... but it was fun because I had a choice, in a world far removed from this one. So if P:E does something similar, I think it could be a productive force for tension in the game world. Something that makes me want to resolve it, not avoid it like in Columbia.     

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I like these posts. I think pretty much everything I wanted to say has already been said.

 

I also want to add my support for seeing new issues examined. Isn't PE set in a world of colonialist expansion? The topic of cultural assimilation seems pretty relevant to me in that case.

 

In order to add something to the discussion, my view is that whether there's bigotry or not in the setting, it shouldn't forget that the game can be played by people of any race, sex, gender, or orientation, and that they have the same right to have fun as the rest. That doesn't mean that the game should avoid these topics though, just that the player shouldn't have less agency because of them. If that means that overt discrimination to the point of being attacked on sight by quest givers isn't possible, then the game will have to be more subdued about it. Covert bigotry is just as realistic, after all.

 

 

This is actually something I've been wondering too. If Obsidian put in overt racism and sexism (not that I think they will), who really benefits from it?

 

I'm guessing the original poster means racism toward non-humans and sexism toward women, right? I'm hoping I'm wrong, but if so this pretty much ensures that only players of female and non-human characters go through aggravations that human male characters don't. While I'm all for the role-play value of being a minority and exploring that side of interracial, gender and cultural relations, I don't see the point of being on the receiving end of constant ignorant, malicious, bigoted comments just for the sake of having them. As you and others have said, the player shouldn't have less agency or deal with more insults just for certain races or genders they choose to play. As Auxilious has said, "if I'm playing an elf, I'd like to move around without getting insulted over my pointy ears. It's boring and unfunny."

"Not I, though. Not I," said the hanging dwarf.

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