Fallow Gamer (derail)

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Fallow Gamer (derail)

Postby willpell » Sun May 08, 2016 7:56 pm

MODERATOR NOTE (by Big Mac): Split from Fallow Gamer topic.

Big Mac wrote:Spelljammer has control mechanisms built into it that handles all of this. That's why I prefer it over science fiction space settings.


If by "control mechanisms" you mean "handwaves", then they'd better be damn good ones, if I'm to be impressed by them. If they just say something equivalent to "the use of Phlebotinum allows spelljammers to travel FTL without ill effect because reasons", then the real reason is "because we want ships in space, so fsck logic", and I'm never tolerant of that sort of thing. If they have a more detailed, but not more interesting, rationale, I'm still not happy. The only way this will work for me is if they come up with something really cool and impactful, which answers these questions in a really satisfying way, while making the setting better rather than worse for people who never asked those questions either. That's the standard I always strive for when creating these sorts of things - not mere technobabble, not just a lampshade which acknowledges the problem but states a desire to avoid actually addressing it, preferably not even "this universe is different" (although I end up having to resort to that a lot), but ideally the introduction of a really neat element which explains WHY things are different, and makes the reader glad of the difference, instead of impairing their suspension of disbelief.

The problem is that, if you make a nod to Spelljammer, but then hobble the Spelljammer elements, it's not going to attract Spelljammer fans (well not me anyway).

And if you go the other way, and turn your world into a thriving Spelljammer economy, you are going to wipe out the people who would have otherwise been attracted by your central themes.

If you wanted to do Spelljammer "right" you would have to learn how Jeff Grubb's built in control mechanisms, and decide how to use them to build a crystal sphere around your world. But to be honest, it took me ages to figure this sort of stuff out and I enjoy it because I want to do Spelljammer. I can't see the point in doing all that stuff if you don't want to do Spelljammer. If you prefer to have "realistic star systems" and "faster than light travel" it would probably be a waste of your time to read up on Spelljammer rules.


I would be interested in hearing a more elaborate explanation of this, if you're up to the effort of writing it. But I won't blame you if you don't want to bother.

I specifically like Spelljammer because it is not science fiction (although I like science fiction more than I like fantasy). I like Jeff Grubb's central theme of a dude in armour standing on the deck of a sailing ship that is in outer space and not floating away or dying. All that science fiction stuff (closed up ships, rockets, FTL drives and so on) just stops me from being able to feel that I'm playing D&D. I want to see some crazy NPC trying to fly to the moon on a flying carpet (if they can get their before running out of air)! :)


Well, if you're going to ignore things like explosive decompression, radiation, micrometeorites, and just the general absurd vastness of the cosmos, why shouldn't space be full of air while you're at it? Hell, make it magical space air that stops the constant roar of the sun exploding from deafening everyone on the planet. I don't see any point in trying to have it both ways.

There is no such thing as a "galaxy" in the D&D multiverse. There is no such thing as "billions of galaxies" in the D&D multiverse.


Then the D&D multiverse is pretty boring, and might as well not bother having any outer space in it. Just say the sun is a giant Light spell attached to a smiling gold shield nailed to the "top of the sky", and say anyone who flies too high collides with the solid dome over the world and falls back down. If you're going to use space, but not do it justice, then its very presence is just going to be insulting to everyone who's actually interested in it.

This was a topic about "fallow gamers" and the derail has been fun, but it seems like I would need to try to get you to "buy into" a ton of Spelljammer core concepts in order to explain why I like the Spelljammer universe more than the real one (as a model for D&D gaming). And as you are not a Spelljammer fan, I don't feel inclined to "evangelise" on the setting. That's not my style.


Again, if you lack the time and inclination, that's fine. But there are things about Spelljammer I like, or at least could conceivably like, so it's not necessarily impossible for me to "buy into" these things. To extend the metaphor a little, it'll just take some extra bargaining, to convince me that the "product's" flaws are worth tolerating in exchange for its merits.

So far, what I like about Spelljammer amounts roughly to this:

* The concept of using Ptolomey's "crystal spheres" as a factual basis for reality is an interesting one.
* The name "crystal sphere" conjures a cool image of transparent, glittering bubbles full of stars and planets hanging in space.
* Likewise, recycling the word "phlogiston" is neat, even if it's being used to mean something very different. (Why they didn't go with "luminiferous ether" I'm not sure, it seems like that would have been more on-the-nose, but either way.)
* Some of the details I've heard about, most recently that thing about Realmspace having giant spells on the sphere wall, and other vague half-remembered bits I've seen around here, concerning dragons and giant glow-worms and such.

And what I don't like is this:
* Seemingly does a poor job of making space feel big, and hand-waves a lot of details about space which I consider essential. Leaving out radiation, for instance, is acceptable enough, since it doesn't really feel very fantasy. But leaving out any notion of depressurization as well, not to mention the fact that space is close to absolute zero, and doing away with gravitational effects and re-entry friction....it all starts to make the whole thing seem as unrealistic as a Care Bears cartoon.
* Also, it has a lot of specific creatures which are even sillier than the standard for D&D, such as a race of hippopotamus-men, and "space" versions of things like the Mimic and the Giant Hamster. The Neogi are almost cool, but not quite done justice enough; they look a bit silly, especially when they're described as often dyeing their fur in bright colors, and their association with a creature so random as to still have the description "umber hulk" in place of an actual name, not to mention the idea that their ships are shaped like giant spiders for no particular reason (if the legs were articulate, and they traveled FTL by crawling along some sort of invisible hyperspace grid created by some spider-like Great Old One which the neogi worship, that'd be a neat concept, but as far as I know none of that is canon - I'll probably use this for Whiteleaf's version of the creatures)....all of this keeps them from counting into the column above.

That's four small advantages and two big disadvantages...pretty balanced. I could be convinced that it's worth the trade-off, especially since my objections are pretty vague and could be debunked with more info. But I'd need to hear about these "control mechanisms" and "thriving economies" and such

But if you ever do want to know about Spelljammer (and there is a forum for that, at The Piazza) you need to embrace Jeff Grubb's primary principle: "Everything you know about space is wrong." If you don't embrace that principle, if you can't let go of the "real world" and "real science" you are not going to enjoy Spelljammer, as you are going to keep coming up against the fact that Spelljammer takes old philosophy about space and does weird but awesome things with it. Those weird things are either "awesomely cool" or "really stupid" based on how well you "buy into" the concept.


That principle could be used to good effect for my purposes, but it doesn't seem as though it is being used so.

You might like Dragonstar, or Space 1889, or Stargate or "just not using space" more than using Spelljammer. Go look at some alternatives, and see if one of them feels better. :)


The only reason that I am considering using anything other than my own understanding of realistic astrophysics, is for the sake of crossover accessibility to Spelljammer fans. Your argument is doing a fairly good job of convincing me that this is a bad idea. I have no interest in making Whiteleaf accessible to certain fandoms - NFL Football watchers, for example - which are clearly not ever going to be "into" what I'm doing there, and would probably ruin it completely if I tried to meet them halfway (or even a tenth of the way); I'd rather just keep them out. I haven't completely come to the conclusion that Spelljammer is in that group, but it's starting to look that way a little.

This is weird. I just said that crystal spheres were not "tiny bubbles" and you seemed to disagree with me, but then said that a single planet is "big". I'm not sure if you are projecting a counter-opinion about Spelljammer onto me, so that you can disagree with something I didn't say, or arguing with yourself. :?


You asserted that the crystal spheres were big, but I didn't see anything that resembled convincing proof to that effect.

(And I won't be getting that done, if I burn up time not telling people to add Spelljammer to every homebrew D&D world. I need to get back on focus, or I'll never catch you up! :P )


If this "catching up" business is about post count, you still have eight-and-a-half times as many posts as I do....

Cthulhu or the Marvel Zombies plague or the Chaos Warp of 40K do not exist in the Spelljammer universe. You can add them to your personal campaign, if you want, but Spelljammer is based around Dragonlance, Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms. The main threats are beholders (which are already in D&D), illithids (which are already in D&D) and neogi (which are new) along with the possible return of the Unhumans (defeated by the elves in the First Unhuman War).


Okay, add the word "unhumans" to my list above, of things that might be awesome about this setting, depending on what exactly they actually are.

There is also no Ebola in D&D (again, unless you choose to add it).


See, the problem with any declaration such as this one, to me, is that if you have anything of the real world in D&D, then you have to have everything else of the real world, or else have some reasonably cogent explanation of why it doesn't exist. Humans are in D&D, and IRL humans and Ebola are both products of the same evolutionary process. If we can just hand-wave that there's no ebola, then we might as well hand-wave and say that there are no homosexuals, or that there's no such thing as iron, or that gravity doesn't exist and people stay on planets because of invisible angels pushing down on their feet. And if we do those things, then they lead to a bunch of other questions - why does homosexuality not occur, what's different about the human psyche or libido that it behaves differently here; if there's no iron, then there's no magnetism to protect the planet from cosmic rays, so there must not be any cosmic rays, but then what if there's no infrared and the sun doesn't actually radiate heat; absent actual gravity, does the Wile E. Coyote Effect really work, because the angels won't realize they need to make you fall until you signal them with your conscious awareness that you're not touching the ground? It all just starts to unravel, unless you can come up with good answers to all those questions you've raised. Whereas, the more closely you mirror reality, the more often you don't have to generate those answers, just know what they are and be able to reference them.
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Re: Fallow Gamer

Postby Angel Tarragon » Tue May 10, 2016 3:23 pm

willpell wrote:See, the problem with any declaration such as this one, to me, is that if you have anything of the real world in D&D, then you have to have everything else of the real world, or else have some reasonably cogent explanation of why it doesn't exist. Humans are in D&D, and IRL humans and Ebola are both products of the same evolutionary process. If we can just hand-wave that there's no ebola, then we might as well hand-wave and say that there are no homosexuals, or that there's no such thing as iron, or that gravity doesn't exist and people stay on planets because of invisible angels pushing down on their feet. And if we do those things, then they lead to a bunch of other questions - why does homosexuality not occur, what's different about the human psyche or libido that it behaves differently here; if there's no iron, then there's no magnetism to protect the planet from cosmic rays, so there must not be any cosmic rays, but then what if there's no infrared and the sun doesn't actually radiate heat; absent actual gravity, does the Wile E. Coyote Effect really work, because the angels won't realize they need to make you fall until you signal them with your conscious awareness that you're not touching the ground? It all just starts to unravel, unless you can come up with good answers to all those questions you've raised. Whereas, the more closely you mirror reality, the more often you don't have to generate those answers, just know what they are and be able to reference them.
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Re: Fallow Gamer

Postby Big Mac » Tue May 10, 2016 8:15 pm

OK, Willpell.

You are just adding a bunch of pointless statements to try to "prove" that my position is wrong. And every time I've answered your off-topic comments, you pulled me into the derail more and more, by moving the goalposts until you have a discussion that has nothing to do with my OP. We all wander a bit off-topic (including me) but we all get back to the original topic eventually. I've come to the conclusion that you are deliberately derailing my topic with no intention to get back to the original topic.

As for your statements about how you think RPGs should be done, I have no need or desire, to make people play the way I want to play. You can't simply mention the word "Spelljammer" and get me to have a debate about things that have nothing to do with Spelljammer. You have hijacked my time enough with your statements ignoring what I say and then telling me how I'm wrong and expecting me to spend time explaining why I'm not wrong.

This is starting to feel like a "Koyobashi Maru discussion". The more I talk to you, the more I suspect you are going to tell me that I'm wrong about my answers to you and that I need to explain other things to prove that I'm not wrong about those too. It's just an expanding derail of me being wrong about more and more stuff.

The only reason I've actually replied to this off-topic post that is continuing a derail of my topic, is that you've said something that I'm going to have to reply to:

willpell wrote:
Big Mac wrote:There is also no Ebola in D&D (again, unless you choose to add it).


See, the problem with any declaration such as this one, to me, is that if you have anything of the real world in D&D, then you have to have everything else of the real world, or else have some reasonably cogent explanation of why it doesn't exist. Humans are in D&D, and IRL humans and Ebola are both products of the same evolutionary process. If we can just hand-wave that there's no ebola, then we might as well hand-wave and say that there are no homosexuals, or that there's no such thing as iron, or that gravity doesn't exist and people stay on planets because of invisible angels pushing down on their feet. And if we do those things, then they lead to a bunch of other questions - why does homosexuality not occur, what's different about the human psyche or libido that it behaves differently here; if there's no iron, then there's no magnetism to protect the planet from cosmic rays, so there must not be any cosmic rays, but then what if there's no infrared and the sun doesn't actually radiate heat; absent actual gravity, does the Wile E. Coyote Effect really work, because the angels won't realize they need to make you fall until you signal them with your conscious awareness that you're not touching the ground? It all just starts to unravel, unless you can come up with good answers to all those questions you've raised.


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So now my topic - which was supposed to be a fun-topic about a Facebook friend I know who accidentally invented the awesome term "fallow gamers" has gone from a regular derail to a derail where I need to "come up with good answers" to questions including "why does homosexuality not occur".

Nope! Nope! Nope! I am not happy. :(

Are you aware of how search engine spiders index things like forum topics? We have cool conversions about things, and people use a bunch of words (the search engines call them "keywords") and people search for "keywords" and discover results based on those keywords, surf over to conversations about things and - if they like the conversation - maybe they sign up and join in.

And you just threw a bunch of keywords, implying that if I don't have ebola in my Spelljammer games, that I need to explain why there is no homosexuality in my Spelljammer games. Even if that was not meant to be a strawman argument (that people might see and think that I'm homophobic) you've flooded my "fun" topic with these crappy keywords that have totally taken all the fun and enjoyment out of me reading my own topic.

Pretty much all the stuff you have said against my various statements about D&D/Spelljammer has been a misinterpretation about how gamers that play like me decide what goes into our games. You've been arguing for "realism" but your arguments actually go against the methodology for people interested in D&D canon. The study of D&D canon is pretty similar to the way that "scientific methodology" works. In the real world the conclusions that we call "science" have come from experiments that prove or disprove theories. In the study of D&D canon the conclusions we come to come from thought experiments where we look at the canon to prove or disprove theories.

And the very simple "good answer" to the question that I never ever asked, is that homosexuality does exist in D&D, because following a bunch of trolls getting angry about a trans-character being included in a Forgotten Realms computer game, Ed Greenwood came forward and pointed out that LGBT people have always existed in Forgotten Realms. Ed Grenwood says they are there - they are there. I don't recall any canon that confirms or refutes the existence of homosexuality in Greyhawk or Dragonlance, but by Spelljammer logic, if it exists in any of the three campaign settings that SJ links to, it exists in the entire SJ multiverse.

That's how this stuff of studying canon works, Willpell. You don't get to keep hammering people to death with more and more questions that have nothing to do with the topic at hand. We discuss one thing (and maybe deviate a bit around the general area) work out what the answer is, and then we move on and have a different discussion where we work out what another answer is.

And we can talk about things from lots of different angles (including how to break canon to make things more cool) so sometimes we even argue one position in one topic and argue the opposite position in another topic. But if people ask about how something works in D&D, the people who study canon are going to tell you how it works in the canon. And - unless they forgot about another book that includes some other canon that conflicts with that - that's what we go with. (And anyone who doesn't like the canon simply ignores that canon and comes up with their alternative way to do things. Which is why I've recently suggested that you don't bother with Spelljammer, because it doesn't seem to fit well with your play style.)

So there is a canon answer to your question - not my question - that you projected onto me - which you can take or leave as you wish.

But I'm really really not happy at you dumping this thread-killing question into my fun topic.

I do occasionally ask simplistic questions, when I don't know much about a campaign setting and I'm trying to learn enough stuff to understand a topic. But I do try to avoid derailing the topic to death. And, while I have challenged people, when I've learnt a bit about a topic and think that I've discovered a factoid that they are unaware of, I don't throw "if you think X then that means that you also think Y" logic at people.

But mostly, I try to put myself in the position of the people who are trying to play a game a certain way, and I try to work out the parameters that the original poster is aiming for, so that I can give them an answer that fits in with their context. I don't always get it right. Sometimes I get the wrong end of the stick, but I try to get things right. I don't tell people that their way of gaming means that their entire game universe would fall apart in a puff of flawed logic.

And this is the second one of my Tabard Inn topics that has been sunk like this. Do I come over to your Whiteleaf topics, and flood them with a bunch of off-topic questions that totally derail them and make anyone reading the topic totally confused about the message that you are trying to put across with them? I think that I don't.

This isn't even supposed to be a "sensible" topic (to help me work out how I should be doing Spelljammer) just a silly fun topic. And I'm not enjoying reading my own topic any more. I'll take a bit of derail, over no answers, but I really don't want to be told I need to answer questions like the one you threw on me there. That's not fun for me at all. ;(
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Re: Fallow Gamer

Postby willpell » Tue May 10, 2016 9:04 pm

Angel Tarragon]You must love the Kalamar setting, as it is the most "realistic" fantasy setting published.[/quote]

Not too familiar with Kalamar. When someone else describes fantasy as "realistic", I generally suspect it of being so in the Game of Thrones sense, or general "grittiness", which is not what I'm looking for at all. I've seen few cases of a work which is both realistic and takes a hopeful tone, maybe because the culture today is so saturated with negative messaging that any upbeatness seems cliché and out-of-touch. I may look into Kalamar at some point if it does a better-than-average job of this, but there's so much stuff out there, my motivation is not great to go exploring.

[quote="Big Mac wrote:
OK, Willpell.

You are just adding a bunch of pointless statements to try to "prove" that my position is wrong.


That has never been my intention.

And every time I've answered your off-topic comments, you pulled me into the derail more and more, by moving the goalposts until you have a discussion that has nothing to do with my OP.


I have no goalposts; I'm not keeping score or trying to accomplish anything. I'm just discussing the topic from whatever angle happens to pop into my head that day, after having read something from you.

We all wander a bit off-topic (including me) but we all get back to the original topic eventually. I've come to the conclusion that you are deliberately derailing my topic with no intention to get back to the original topic.


I have very likely forgotten the original topic by now; that's not an intentional derail.

Are you aware of how search engine spiders index things like forum topics? We have cool conversions about things, and people use a bunch of words (the search engines call them "keywords") and people search for "keywords" and discover results based on those keywords, surf over to conversations about things and - if they like the conversation - maybe they sign up and join in.

And you just threw a bunch of keywords, implying that if I don't have ebola in my Spelljammer games, that I need to explain why there is no homosexuality in my Spelljammer games. Even if that was not meant to be a strawman argument (that people might see and think that I'm homophobic) you've flooded my "fun" topic with these crappy keywords that have totally taken all the fun and enjoyment out of me reading my own topic.


Sorry. That search engine business is something that I don't really think about much, because I'll go insane if I try.

You've been arguing for "realism" but your arguments actually go against the methodology for people interested in D&D canon. The study of D&D canon is pretty similar to the way that "scientific methodology" works. In the real world the conclusions that we call "science" have come from experiments that prove or disprove theories. In the study of D&D canon the conclusions we come to come from thought experiments where we look at the canon to prove or disprove theories.


I do not understand this statement at all. How can anything about the study of what is, essentially, a genre of literature possibly be "scientific"?

But I'm really really not happy at you dumping this thread-killing question into my fun topic.


:facepalm:

And this is the second one of my Tabard Inn topics that has been sunk like this. Do I come over to your Whiteleaf topics, and flood them with a bunch of off-topic questions that totally derail them and make anyone reading the topic totally confused about the message that you are trying to put across with them? I think that I don't.


I used to have a guy who did pretty much exactly that, and it helped a lot with my expanding and clarifying my vision for the setting. Please, if you have that kind of time, feel free. The only place I'd ask you not to do it is in the threads that function as references (most, though not all, of which have that word in the title; even if they don't, it should generally be fairly clear that's what's going on). Those are meant to remain encyclopedic and neat, but for anything like the Miscellaneous Infodump, or even a new discussion topic with the Whiteleaf tag, I'd love to get some feedback, even if it seems utterly tangential.

And I'm not enjoying reading my own topic any more. I'll take a bit of derail, over no answers, but I really don't want to be told I need to answer questions like the one you threw on me there. That's not fun for me at all. ;(


I am genuinely sorry if I have ruined any fun of yours. Not my intent at all.
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Re: Fallow Gamer

Postby Ashtagon » Tue May 10, 2016 9:42 pm

I think there is a fundamental difference between including ebola in a game and including homosexuals in a game.

There are, to my knowledge, no people who identify as ebola viruses. By excluding them from a game, no one's identity is disrespected. There are, however, plenty of people in the LGBT community who play RPGs (many of whom are also involved as game designers, some quite well-known). By excluding LGBT characters from a game, you are sending a specific signal to those people that a core part of their identity simply doesn't exist in your fantasy world.

"In my fantasy, you don't exist."

That's actually quite a harsh insult when you stop and think about it.
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Re: Fallow Gamer

Postby willpell » Wed May 11, 2016 1:00 am

To quickly finish what I had to say to Big Mac, if he's still listening (I wouldn't blame him if he wasn't, but I still need to say my piece):

Big Mac wrote:"It's a trap!"


No, it's nothing of the sort. I was not trying to put words in your mouth. When I postulated those other questions that were suggested by the absence of known scientific realities in Spelljammer, I was just trying to come up with a wide-ranging collection of slightly absurd-sounding such omissions. Having homosexuality be the only one I mentioned which refers to human beings was probably a misstep on my part, but in no case was I trying to imply that *you* had said these things. *I* was saying these things were implied by your suggestion. It was not in any way an attempt at strawmanning or even at being inflammatory; that was just the first example that popped into my mind, and I didn't think to question it, because I'm not in the habit of sitting around and second-guessing the political impact of everything I say.

In retrospect, I wish I had mentioned a couple other things before homosexuality...the two examples that currently spring to my mind are color-blindness and Otherkin. I'm not aware of anyone in D&D who is color-blind, and certainly this is something that happens to people in the real-world; it's a biological reality, so if there is a race called "human" in D&D which is otherwise identical to our real-world humans in terms of physicality, then it's valid to pose the question, "Do these count as 'real' humans if they are never color-blind?". But I think it's also valid to say that the answer is "yes", or "no", or anything in between, and I certainly don't think that it's a taboo subject to discuss. While real people are sometimes color-blind, and there are a few special interest groups lobbying for their sensibilities to be reflected in pop culture, such a movement is obviously pretty small compared to the lobbies for GLBT rights, racial equality, feminism, and other such forms of identity politics. On the extreme other end of the scale, very few people who even know what an Otherkin is regard it as anything other than a lunatic fringe, people so divorced from reality that they can sincerely claim to have the soul of an alien dragon-robot, trapped in a human body which isn't really theirs. But who is to say that the current "you're joking, right?" status of Otherkin will not change as the social climate continues to evolve? We as an international civilization seem to be strongly moving toward allowing everyone total freedom to self-define in any way they choose, and I can easily see this trend continuing to exaggerate over successive generations, until telling somebody "no you're not a unicorn" becomes classified as hate speech! In any event, I have serious doubts as to whether any human in D&D-world could possibly make these manner of claims, let alone have any reasonable expectation that even one other person in the world will ever take them seriously (at least unless they happen to be factually true as a result of magic).

It is my personal opinion, which you can call bigoted if you like, that homosexuality lies somewhere between these extremes. Once, absolutely nobody was afraid to say that being gay was a choice; now, the idea that it's anything other than an in-born tendency has become heretical. But if someone else can say "gender is a social construct", why can't I say "gayness is a social construct"? Even if I was speaking in the context of our actual reality, which I'm not? For now, I am suggesting a milder idea along similar lines - that a person's sexual orientation, while more in-born and less mentally-intentional than their desire to call themselves Otherkin, is less in-born and more mentally-intentional than their ability or inability to see color. Science can identify genetic markers which signal color-blindness; perhaps eventually they will find genetic markers which signal homosexual inclination (and that will open up a whole new can of worms, which will lead to many new and even more heated arguments on the Internet, assuming they're still legal by then). I seriously doubt that there is any genetic basis whatsoever for Otherkin-ism, but who knows, maybe someday they'll find one - and maybe someday they'll find that the color-blind gene is correlation rather than causation, and learn techniques where people can train themselves to see colors that they originally couldn't. All of this is beside the point.

Let's discard everything even slightly controversial, and just look at the Ebola and Color-Blindness issues, both of which are firmly biological and not at all founded in identity politics (at least not from our current scientific understanding). Ebola is a sequence of genetic code which parasitically infects the cells of patients and kills them; color-blindness is a genetic "defect" (pretend there's absolutely no judgment attached to that term; I simply can't think of a more polite alternative) which prevents the cone cells in the eyes from registering certain light wavelengths distinctly from others. All of this is true according to the science as we currently know it; it's part of our reality. My core question was simply this - if the "human" race in D&D never get Ebola and never have color-blindness, does this simply mean that that particular virus and that particular "defect" simply don't exist? The former could randomly be true, but we're not just talking about one individual disease, we're talking about all bacterial and viral infections that exist in reality, since the list of D&D diseases is not even remotely founded on actual medical science? (The ultra-generic "filth fever" is as close as we get, and probably could be considered a stand-in for all manner of pathogens we have in reality, but certainly most individual diseases you could name have both different transmission vectors and different effects on the body than are modeled by these rules.) How can none of the Earth's micro-organisms exist in a world which contains almost all the same macroscopic life? (Arguably there's a good bit less species variation, but that could easily just be a lack of rules-irrelevant detail, and fixable by DM fiat without real effect on the milieu.) And the latter is almost impossible to assert without raising the question, "Wait, how can these humans never have misfires in their genetic code, when we have so many such conditions in our genome? Do they even have genes? And if not, how can they exist?"

Again, all of these are questions which I believe can be validly raised. And I do not consider it acceptable to declare some kind of witch-hunt against anyone who dares raise them. Could sending up such a "signal flare" possibly draw a school of ravenous Internet sharks eager for a feeding frenzy? Sure, and you could be hit by lightning tomorrow, but that's really not an especially compelling reason to spend your entire day wearing rubber boots when there isn't even a cloud in the sky. I googled "D&D homosexuality" and went through five pages of results without ever seeing a link to the Piazza; I suspect we're reasonably safe.

you've flooded my "fun" topic with these crappy keywords that have totally taken all the fun and enjoyment out of me reading my own topic.


Again, I had no intention whatsoever to ruin anyone's fun. Perhaps a thread split is in order?

because following a bunch of trolls getting angry about a trans-character being included in a Forgotten Realms computer game, Ed Greenwood came forward and pointed out that LGBT people have always existed in Forgotten Realms. Ed Grenwood says they are there - they are there.


I never had the slightest doubt that EG's FR contained gay people; that much was pretty clear. If it contained explicitly transgender characters prior to "transgender" becoming an exciting political buzzword for the entire Internet to get worked up over, I'd be a bit surprised on that, but ultimately it's not that far outside what I've come to understand as the FR milieu.

I don't recall any canon that confirms or refutes the existence of homosexuality in Greyhawk or Dragonlance, but by Spelljammer logic, if it exists in any of the three campaign settings that SJ links to, it exists in the entire SJ multiverse.


That part I'm not so sure about. I think there's a very good chance that when EGG sat down and dreamed up the original Castle Greyhawk dungeons, he went many solid years without ever once imagining that one of his characters might possibly be gay. And having his personal project be absorbed into someone else's pet setting against his wishes, just because money changed hands and he lost the legal authorization to exercise veto control over the work, is suspect at best IMO. It might have been consistent with his wishes, or it might not; we'll probably never no. Saying that "Spelljammer logic" dictates this, however, just gives me more reason to reconsider whether I indeed want to meet the Spelljammer fans halfway, or if they'll just take my inch and decide that I've granted them a mile, and trample all over my OOC intentions like the aforementioned Marvel Zombie plague ravaging the world IC.

But if people ask about how something works in D&D, the people who study canon are going to tell you how it works in the canon. And - unless they forgot about another book that includes some other canon that conflicts with that - that's what we go with. (And anyone who doesn't like the canon simply ignores that canon and comes up with their alternative way to do things.)


As if the prestige of a "canon" label wasn't practically a death-knell to everything it excludes...personally, I think the question is a good bit more important than this rather offhanded answer would suggest. But I'm used to dealing with people who don't see what I see when I look at things. Maybe there's nothing but noise where I see a signal, or maybe I really am the Cassandra whose doomsaying goes unheard; I'll openly admit that the former seems more probable. Nevertheless, even if nobody wants to hear what I have to say, I would not be [u]me, if I didn't say it[/u]. That is all that is going on here, and if you find it offensive and would prefer not to engage with me anymore, that is fine.

If the Piazza has a "mute user" kind of function, go ahead and use it on me if you wish. In any event, I will make a non-binding declaration of intent to try and remember that you'd rather I didn't come and post on your threads, or at least try to avoid going off-topic when doing so. As with any "promise" I make, I am virtually guaranteed to break it eventually, simply because my mind is too chaotic for anyone ever to regard my word as worth anything. The best I can offer you is, inded, a non-binding declaration of intent, and it's yours if you want it.

I don't tell people that their way of gaming means that their entire game universe would fall apart in a puff of flawed logic.


Fair enough, but if your gameworld is going to be that divorced from reality, I at least think it ought to be made extremely clear that what you're playing is more akin to "Pokemon" than to "Game of Thrones". It seems like a person could easily get the impression it's closer to the middle of that scale than it is. If you'd rather play an utterly self-indulgent fantasy with no attempt at seriousness or reality, more power to you! Just don't ever deceive anyone into thinking you're doing otherwise.

Ashtagon wrote:There are, to my knowledge, no people who identify as ebola viruses. By excluding them from a game, no one's identity is disrespected.


Okay, maybe the above point on Otherkin is going to find a different reception than I intended here. Serious question, though...why exactly do we ever owe anyone's "identity" any "respect" whatsoever? What ever happened to the idea that people were allowed to not like each other, that we don't owe each other anything, that respect has to be earned, or that some people are just complete freaking idiots? There might have been a little too much of those attitudes in my grandfather's grandfathers' day, back when you literally did have to walk three miles each way in the snow to get to school. But today, when people complain about having to wait five seconds for an elevator to arrive, maybe we've gone just a smidgeon too far in the other direction.

There are, however, plenty of people in the LGBT community who play RPGs (many of whom are also involved as game designers, some quite well-known). By excluding LGBT characters from a game, you are sending a specific signal to those people that a core part of their identity simply doesn't exist in your fantasy world.


So what? Let them play some other game which does vindicate their identity; let them vote with their wallet. Why do they have to deny people who hold more traditional values any option whatsoever to vote with theirs? If you're like three to five percent of the population, obviously you're going to lose in a free market economy; naturally, it will be in your best interest to try and change the rules of the game so you have a chance of winning. But is it in the other 95-97%'s best interest to roll over and let you? Shouldn't they maybe stand their ground and protect their own interests, given how incredibly many more of them there are, and how many vital social institutions they're propping up, which very likely would suffer if only people like you were allowed to run them? I think the once-monolithic majority has been pretty damn generous allowing so many subcultures the chance to flourish, and even to thrive...but maybe they should draw the line at allowing the tiniest and most radical of niches to out-compete them, particularly by reclassifying the entire previously-dominant and proven success strategy as "cheating", so that all the "sport's" best players are now banned from participation, and the Special Olympics is now the only Olympics permitted.

"In my fantasy, you don't exist."
That's actually quite a harsh insult when you stop and think about it.


So what? Insults are just words, and talk is cheap. I'm going to take the hard-line stance that hurting someone's feelings is not an act of assault. Anyone who doesn't like Brand X is perfectly free to found their own competing Brand Y, which serves the opposite market of Brand X and tries to gain the loyalty of its disenfranchised customers. By all means, let's have alternatives. But there's a reason that we don't allow monopolies to form in the business world; when you can deny anyone the option of competing, for any reason, bad stuff starts to happen. If someone is too bummed out to bother making an effort, that's not anyone's decision except theirs. Let them grow up and get over it, instead of complaining and trying to make other people fix everything for them.
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Re: Fallow Gamer

Postby Angel Tarragon » Wed May 11, 2016 3:03 am

willpell wrote:So what? Insults are just words, and talk is cheap. I'm going to take the hard-line stance that hurting someone's feelings is not an act of assault.
It's still assault, especially against those not mature or chemically balanced enough to distinguish the difference.
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Re: Fallow Gamer

Postby Ashtagon » Wed May 11, 2016 7:10 am

willpell wrote:To quickly finish what I had to say to Big Mac, if he's still listening (I wouldn't blame him if he wasn't, but I still need to say my piece):

If the Piazza has a "mute user" kind of function, go ahead and use it on me if you wish.


Whether or not it does, as a moderator, BigMac and several others would be obliged to not use it, in order to see everything that is going on. And telling others that it is okay for you to be offensive because they are able to cover their ears, skim over your posts, or mute you is not a defence. Forum members should play nice because that is the founding principle of the forum. Yes, this is a higher standard than both the law and the internet generally requires. That is the way this forum works.

willpell wrote:
Ashtagon wrote:There are, to my knowledge, no people who identify as ebola viruses. By excluding them from a game, no one's identity is disrespected.


Serious question, though...why exactly do we ever owe anyone's "identity" any "respect" whatsoever?


Respecting other peoples identity is simply not optional here. It's about the whole "play nice with each other" principle that this site works on.

Are you allowed to not like other people, even specific types of other people? Of course you are. But in private, offline, and with the doors closed. (Local jurisdictions may vary; please consult a lawyer if you wish to push the boundaries in a live ammo situation.)

Are you required to voice liking for other people or specific types of other people? Of course not. If you don't like someone, you are free to keep that information to yourself and voice no opinion on them.

Online, in this forum, you play nice with others. Or you take it to a community that doesn't (I understand 4chan or reddit might work for that).


Thread locked for review.
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Re: Fallow Gamer (derail)

Postby Giant Space Hamster » Thu May 26, 2016 4:35 am

MODERATOR WARNING: Re "Explain why homosexuality does not exist in Spelljammer" derail

Willpell: You derailed my topic and I informed you (as an ordinary forum user) that I was fed up with my topic being derailed, but also told you specifically that I did not want you to turn my topic into a "Why doesn't homosexuality exist in Spelljammer?" debate because I didn't want search engines to link into a topic that could be offensive to people.

Ashtagon also explained that your comments could offend people.

You ignored both these comments and pushed on, referring to homosexuality as an "identity" (in quotes) and further asking the question why we owe "respect" (again in quotes).

Furthermore you also said about LGBT gamers: "So what? Let them play some other game which does vindicate their identity; let them vote with their wallet. Why do they have to deny people who hold more traditional values any option whatsoever to vote with theirs?"

And in response to your words being insulting you said: "So what? Insults are just words, and talk is cheap."

The moderator team received two complaints about your specific behaviour here, including one asking why we had not banned you permanently from posting at The Piazza yet.

Following a private discussion of this incident, we have decided not to ban you from posting at The Piazza, at this time. You have also narrowly avoided getting a temporary suspension over this incident. However, it would appear that you like to push potentially offensive conversations despite being asked not to more than once. It would seem that you do not seem able to empathise with roleplayers that happen to be homosexual and that you do not care if you post things that are offensive to other gamers.

As you have been unwilling to stop pushing a dodgy subject when asked politely to do more than once, this deriail is being locked and moved to The Black Pudding.

I am advising you to never discuss homosexuality on The Piazza again. That's personal advice from me to you - not an a formal ban on you raising the subject. However, I want you to be aware that if you ignore my advice and create more discussion about homosexuals (or other minoirty groups), and your posts are deemed to be offensive, we may be forced to make a different decision to the one that was made after the discussion about this incident.
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