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Race and gender affecting gameplay


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I also want to to lift forward a great RPG: Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines.

There is one vampyre "race" (Malkavians) which has unique dialogue throughout the entire game, that is extremely cool.

I hope we will get the dumb playthrough again like in the fallout series, those characters are very fun to play.

 

I must second that as well VTMB had some much unique interaction for all the classes playing that game as a Nosferatu was again a whole nother game.

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One game that I thought approached gender issues in a pretty mature and straightforward way was Mount and Blade. Women and men were given no inherent stat bonuses but the game warns you that it is a medieval society and that the treatment of women is very much reflected in that. Until you get significantly more renown as a female character, you have absolutely no chance of a lord given you a fief (they even say that other lords will think that he's been "bewitched" regardless of your prowess in combat). Even when trying to court a lord, female characters have to find one who is more open-minded than his peers. Women after all, weren't usually mercenary captains or adventurers in the time period and that lifestyle is seen as "too wild" for men in the game. Hell there are two female claimants in the game who you can side with. In spite of how these things limit female characters, it's what actually paints Warband as a fairly progressive game. It features a sexist society while still having female characters equal to males in terms of stats and thus illustrates the irrationality of such a society.

 

Then again though, Pillars of Eternity may not take place in a traditional medieval society. Considering the role that magic may have in society (the forces of which I'm pretty sure don't care about your race/gender), traditional gender roles might simply not apply.

 

Honestly, given that men and women AREN'T equal physicly, I find this as a cop-out. It's a cheap way to place the massage "men and women should be treated equally" by making them completely equal...when in reality they are not.

Of course, you're not going to treat them COMPLETELY equally in RL either, but we are talking in general terms here.

 

IIRC female characters in Warband start with different stats than male characters, so it does acknowledge physical differences. The female leaders are also quite similar (in their political roles) to historical ones, it's not pandering to any kind of social justice crowd.

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I'd say the biggest flaw with MotB in this respect was that while there was a lot of prejudice in the world you were in, you, the PC, were never at the receiving end of it, not even through your choice of companions. Perhaps PoE will manage it better.

 

(Also, btw -- as games go, both Witchers did a fairly good job of working both sexism and racism into the game without doing it reflexively or unthinkingly. I'm more than happy to forgive their occasional stumbles for everything they did well, and the risks they took to do it at all.)

Yeah junta this is my big concern as well.  Obsidian has never been good at making my blank slate character feel like an actual character outside of like BG if you ask me.  I guess they did okay in planescape but I hate that game for a laundry list of reasons so I can't really say much nice about it. 

 

As far as the witcher goes I hope for more of 2 with maybe even more tightened up character and a ton less of 1.  I recently started reading the actual books and frankly.... Geralt in the books is a much better character than Witcher 1 Geralt.  The games also give you this weird whacked out idea of him as basically being a nympho or something.... in the books you see him actually brush Triss off and say "no not interested you know I am into this other lady shove off...." where as in the games he will basically get it on with anything that is female and says "yes".

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@Karkarov A blank slate character who feels like an actual character is a tough equation to balance. PS:T and The Witcher managed it by not giving you a blank slate character; both TNO and Geralt have a lot of baggage in their respective worlds.

 

I'm not sure I can think of a "blank slate" cRPG where the character eventually did become a real character. BG's Bhaalspawn wasn't altogether blank-slate either; I didn't particularly care for the way e.g. the dream sequences imputed a lot of feelings and motivations to you, nor for example Imoen as McGuffin in BG2. It jarred with the blank-slateness of it. That sort of thing would work better if you had some real background.

 

DA:O tried, with the origin stories, but totally failed to capitalize on it in the actual game IMO. I thought it was a wasted opportunity; it would've taken a fair bit more writing but it could have been possible to make the game feel more reactive to your origin without having to do complicated stuff like rewrite quests -- most of it could've just been done with dialog flavor.

 

It will be interesting to see how Obs handles it this time. And I share both your hopes and concerns re The Witcher 3. I love the hell out of the two Witchers, but a big part of the love is because of what they could be rather than what they are. Both fall short of their potential; TW1 because it's so obviously a first effort in many ways, TW2 because they clearly had to cut the ending short. (Aside from a laundry list of niggles obviously, I mean QTE's WTF?)

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They did write in an article, "Pillars of Eternity will delve into themes like "racism and more pervasive racism than just bold-faced racism", explained Sawyer, "like social racism or institutional racism". Class problems will be explored, and there will be an ongoing struggle between the religiously minded and the technological."

 

So hopefully they will not only have it happening around the player, but towards the player as well. 

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They did write in an article, "Pillars of Eternity will delve into themes like "racism and more pervasive racism than just bold-faced racism", explained Sawyer, "like social racism or institutional racism". Class problems will be explored, and there will be an ongoing struggle between the religiously minded and the technological."

 

So hopefully they will not only have it happening around the player, but towards the player as well. 

 

This sounds astonishingly worthy and dull. When I play a fantasy game the last thing on my mind are urgent social issues. I get enough of that everyday in the r/w.

Edited by Monte Carlo
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They did write in an article, "Pillars of Eternity will delve into themes like "racism and more pervasive racism than just bold-faced racism", explained Sawyer, "like social racism or institutional racism". Class problems will be explored, and there will be an ongoing struggle between the religiously minded and the technological."

 

So hopefully they will not only have it happening around the player, but towards the player as well. 

 

This sounds astonishingly worthy and dull. When I play a fantasy game the last thing on my mind are urgent social issues. I get enough of that everyday in the r/w.

 

 

It could help make the world feel more alive a believable though. Something I appreciate even in fantasy.

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No in all obsidian games characters are genderless from psychical pont of view. Women and Men act the same and even in model the only difrence is that the woman have ****, nothing more ...

 

About races .. mayby. 2 addictional responses for ech race thru entire game mostly like "aaa... you are Drow.. but were not is uterdark ! Next invasion !" or "oww.. you are a dwarf, give me some Ale you drunkard !"

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They did write in an article, "Pillars of Eternity will delve into themes like "racism and more pervasive racism than just bold-faced racism", explained Sawyer, "like social racism or institutional racism". Class problems will be explored, and there will be an ongoing struggle between the religiously minded and the technological."

 

So hopefully they will not only have it happening around the player, but towards the player as well. 

 

This sounds astonishingly worthy and dull. When I play a fantasy game the last thing on my mind are urgent social issues. I get enough of that everyday in the r/w.

 

 

I don't think Obsidian's going to shove a social justice campaign down your throat.  But I can't see how anyone could make an intelligent world without having this sort of stuff.

 

Of course, if you don't want an intelligent world then that's different.

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Of course, if you don't want an intelligent world then that's different.

 

And i thout that only people or animals coud be "inteligent", but now i know that world it self can also have intelect ...

 

 

Shorthand for "intelligently designed and internally consistent world," of course.  But I'll take any reason for 'Cube and Chris Tucker.

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I agree you need conflict to keep things interesting, but couldn't they address that based upon your reputation rather than your race or gender? It's one thing to not like someone because you're at war with them, but make the war interesting. Maybe they're at war because someone stole technology or someone's life work for example and they want it back. I'm pretty sure that was already addressed by Josh already regarding there would be a reputation system already, so that serves the purpose for needing cultural perks. I totally get you want to feel special based upon the type of character you play as, and have some personality to keep things interesting, I just can think of like 5 ways off the top of my head on how to do so without creating a situation that poo poo's on someone's race or gender. 

So if we want a game without race discrimination, does that mean that Ogres, Dragons, Trolls, Aumaua, Dwarves, Humans, Orlan's, and all the other "Good" and "Evil" races should all get along fine together?

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There is nothing more boring than creating a certain race/gender and seeing that it has basically zero impact on the game. Dragon Age Origins is an example of a great RPG that really made the choice of race/gender feel different with each playthrough, 

DAO's origin stories were the only sections of the game where playing a different race felt different. In a game with that name extension, you expect more in this regard but being an elf/human/dwarf didn't really impact anything; some rare initial dialogue responses, maybe some other minor stuff and that was it. 

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Given the people developing this game, I have no doubt that they will handle the issues of race, class and gender very well, so I have to say, I'm neither worried that they will be totally ignored, or handled in a crude or overbearing way. I don't say that as a hyperfan or whatever, but I've never seen them mess up on this. Given that this is a party-based game, too, rather than a single-character game, it's unlikely any of those issues are really going to be strongly foregrounded, because if they were, you'd need to account for the entire party mix, which could get very complicated if we have much choice over who is in our party (and I imagine we will have a fair amount of choice).

 

For example, what if a major NPC  hates and fears godlike? Obviously he's not going to react well to a godlike PC, but if he throws an absolute fit and that whole part of the game, for a player whose PC is a godlike, becomes "work around this problem this NPC has", then it's not going to make much sense if, on another play-through, the same player, playing an elf, but with say, two godlike party-members, is able to deal with the NPC easily.

 

Anyway, I expect we'll see this issues more "illustrated" than directly affecting us or massively changing the game, and I think that's very reasonable in a party-based game where the PC isn't some sort of rather powerful and influential figure.

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Have races be treated differently is fine.

 

But how will you make it so genders are treated differently?

 

Because if the only difference is "women can seduce men to get what they want" or "men will flirt with/harass a female character all the time", I'd rather not have that. At all.

 

I'd rather have the completely unrealistic "men and women are completely equal in this quasi-Medieval society" because at least that's not puerile, (it's also the thing I do in fantasy campaigns, because it's awkward for everyone when you try to simulate sexism in a fantasy RPG, especially PnP RPGs).

Edited by drake heath
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I would like this as well but I fear this wilk be up to the modders.

 

If the budget is so limited dedicated moddingtools and romance are out... what makes you think they will rerwrite half the dialoge in the game basdd on class and race.

 

this can get complicated fast what if you are a dwarf templar with a bad reputation? Maybe the response should be highly different from a dwarf rouge with good reputation?

 

Lot of text here ... my guess is 2-3 greetings and 1-2 different quest per class race and that makes a lot of work already.

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Have races be treated differently is fine.

 

But how will you make it so genders are treated differently?

 

Because if the only difference is "women can seduce men to get what they want" or "men will flirt with/harass a female character all the time", I'd rather not have that. At all.

 

I'd rather have the completely unrealistic "men and women are completely equal in this quasi-Medieval society" because at least that's not puerile, (it's also the thing I do in fantasy campaigns, because it's awkward for everyone when you try to simulate sexism in a fantasy RPG, especially PnP RPGs).

 

I think everyone would prefer the latter to the former, but remember, this is an Obsidian game, with familiar designers - none of whom have ever made a game that resembled the former.

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I guess some people same to take this point too far.

 

Many books. Games. Movies. Have some form of injustice towards a race or gender.

 

And in a world of fantasy involving magic and weapons and many beasts and races then the lore of that type would depict the way gender and race are used.

In BG was slaves in cells in dungeons does that mean we need to all stand outside the development studios and complain?

How about the fact that in BG knowledge was only for the learned..

Does that mean only educated people were entitled to read and write?

In a game like this set in a time when laws were created by whoever had the standing army. Ie regional lord, or town mayor.

 

Human rights or any raced rights did not exist.

Thats the time period we are looking at.

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IIRC female characters in Warband start with different stats than male characters, so it does acknowledge physical differences. The female leaders are also quite similar (in their political roles) to historical ones, it's not pandering to any kind of social justice crowd.

 

That worked just fine for me actually.

For some reason I find it easy to make a mental leap of accepting levelup magic bonuses to whatever attribute,

much easier than accepting the same attributes in character creation.

 

So rolling up a woman with 18 STR seems wrong to me, or at least I'd imagine her some kind of monster bull then.

But beginning with 14 and upping that to 20 lets me keep the mental image of a woman that looks like a normal athlete.

Because the added points to STR don't actually grow muscles any more than the added CHA does a nose job.

It's all magical exp stuff, much like vampires are real strong after sucking up a lot of blood.

Edited by Jarmo
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I guess some people same to take this point too far.

 

Many books. Games. Movies. Have some form of injustice towards a race or gender.

 

And in a world of fantasy involving magic and weapons and many beasts and races then the lore of that type would depict the way gender and race are used.

In BG was slaves in cells in dungeons does that mean we need to all stand outside the development studios and complain?

How about the fact that in BG knowledge was only for the learned..

Does that mean only educated people were entitled to read and write?

In a game like this set in a time when laws were created by whoever had the standing army. Ie regional lord, or town mayor.

 

Human rights or any raced rights did not exist.

Thats the time period we are looking at.

 

That's not true, historically. The concept of people having basic rights, responsibilities and so on is almost eternal. Codes of laws which granted certain people, certain castes, certain individuals and so on specific rights and the like have been around for many thousands of years, as have legal codes which bound everyone in society. Often they weren't enforced, or were enforced corruptly, or the rights didn't cover the actual situation, or laws were changed to make exceptions to some people could be stolen from or the like (usually ethnic or religious minorities), but the idea that there were no legal systems with broad ideas of "human rights" in the renaissance and before is simply wrong.

 

Here's an example from 2600 years ago: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrus_Cylinder

 

So no, this isn't a new thing. A universal international declaration is pretty new (though still quite old), but that's not something that's really being discussed here.

 

Further, depicting oppression and hate in a game that is meant to be fun needs to be done with care. If you make it so that, say, everyone hates elves, and thus every time an player who chose to play an elf does anything, he's faced with angry words or violence from the NPCs, he's not going to have a particularly pleasant or interesting experience, most likely. If, on the other hand, you limit that to certain individuals, or certain areas of the game, or have it more happen to NPCs of that race in front of the PC than to the PC, that's more interesting, more broadly accessible, and less likely to make the game experience unpleasant.

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<cut>  he's not going to have a particularly pleasant or  interesting  experience, most likely <cut>

Excuse me for being so blatant about it, but that otherwise fine post needed that fix.

There's plethora of books and movies that are not pleasant at all, but still immensely interesting. "The Pianist" for example?

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I was talking about fantasy forms of media.

 

but if you want to get historical then that's ok too.

 

history is littered with human rights violations, take turkey, it was only until after world war one when Mustafa Kemal ataturk deposed the ottoman empire that women were allowed to go to public schools and given rights to vote.

 

even in the uk women could not vote up until 1918

 

or even many Islamic countries where the rights of a woman is greatly reduced and is seen as the norm because of that's countries belief or how society in a whole feel traditions are.

how about the American civil war and slavery. or the right to practise ones religion.. even to this day there are still restrictions on people across the globe based on laws, beliefs, even dictatorships etc etc etc.

 

but in a game set lets say in the 10th or 11th century but with magic and other fantasy things, all the problems of the human races are reflected in these realms and ethos.

 

lord of the rings the issues between dwarfs and elves. or the racist comment of sam towards strider calling him longshanks.. a label a name that's is clearly insulting towards a taller person (human).

 

in this game I can see real life moral compass situation in some stories that leave it half felt, if they don't touch on that with real life issues then how can we relate. I loved the racist side in BG with the dark elf.

 

a good moral compass makes a good game.

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I guess some people same to take this point too far.

 

Many books. Games. Movies. Have some form of injustice towards a race or gender.

 

And in a world of fantasy involving magic and weapons and many beasts and races then the lore of that type would depict the way gender and race are used.

In BG was slaves in cells in dungeons does that mean we need to all stand outside the development studios and complain?

How about the fact that in BG knowledge was only for the learned..

Does that mean only educated people were entitled to read and write?

In a game like this set in a time when laws were created by whoever had the standing army. Ie regional lord, or town mayor.

 

Human rights or any raced rights did not exist.

Thats the time period we are looking at.

 

That's not true, historically. The concept of people having basic rights, responsibilities and so on is almost eternal. Codes of laws which granted certain people, certain castes, certain individuals and so on specific rights and the like have been around for many thousands of years, as have legal codes which bound everyone in society. Often they weren't enforced, or were enforced corruptly, or the rights didn't cover the actual situation, or laws were changed to make exceptions to some people could be stolen from or the like (usually ethnic or religious minorities), but the idea that there were no legal systems with broad ideas of "human rights" in the renaissance and before is simply wrong.

 

Here's an example from 2600 years ago: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrus_Cylinder

 

So no, this isn't a new thing. A universal international declaration is pretty new (though still quite old), but that's not something that's really being discussed here.

 

Further, depicting oppression and hate in a game that is meant to be fun needs to be done with care. If you make it so that, say, everyone hates elves, and thus every time an player who chose to play an elf does anything, he's faced with angry words or violence from the NPCs, he's not going to have a particularly pleasant or interesting experience, most likely. If, on the other hand, you limit that to certain individuals, or certain areas of the game, or have it more happen to NPCs of that race in front of the PC than to the PC, that's more interesting, more broadly accessible, and less likely to make the game experience unpleasant.

 

I read that article, maybe you should read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrus_Cylinder#Scholarly_views

which is part of that article. I also think it's curious that the shah of Iran talks about human rights as he was one of the most heinous violators of human rights and human dignity.

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