WFRP Social Justice & Representation

For general discussions about WFRP
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Le Passant
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Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:20 am

Isn't there a definition problem ? There is no races in the human species. Why would you compare races like orcs or elves to ethnical groups on Earth ?
Exploring the psychology of fascist characters is different from exploring the ideology of fascism. It's usually a way of examining why people turn to fascism in the first place. You won't find respectable literature or movies equivocating on fascist ideology though.
Fascism is a political system established in Italy in a certain context. I think it can be debatable, as long as it shows the effects it could have had in its own context. Historical figures like Churchill or Ghandi were actually very envious of its economical and societal success. I don't endorse Fascism, absolutely not, but an analysis must always embrace all the aspects and replace them in a social context.

You could examine every historical events is this regard, as long as we have datas on it. USA helped liberate Europe twice, but why ? Motives were far from positive one, and the background of it is full of shades. But it is always presented as something heroic and positive, in place of a political, ideological and economical move.

I think it's always interesting to seek why some political systems were dominant in some period and how it was perceived by populations. History is not made to endorse things (at least modern History, things have changed since the 70s), but to understand. Moral standards are different from ours, you can't judge humans from the past with our own standards.

I truly have problems seeing the problem in, say, violent Drow society or Orcish intelligence malus. I don't understand why it would be of any impact for real humans or life.
Herr Arnulfe
Posts: 134
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:06 am

Le Passant wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 4:37 am
I truly have problems seeing the problem in, say, violent Drow society or Orcish intelligence malus. I don't understand why it would be of any impact for real humans or life.
I am somewhat disturbed by people getting really offended by attacks on fascism, misogyny and trivial D&D species tweaks that are being made for the sake of inclusivity. What kinds of games are these people playing anyway? Anyone who knows me from the London conventions can attest to the fact that I don't shy away from adult content.
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Totsuzenheni Yukimi
Posts: 338
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:38 pm

Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 3:42 am
totsuzenheni wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 2:24 am
Can i take it from what has been written above, that some people here don't think that rape (to take the example that's come up), implied or otherwise, should be a part of an RPG? Can i also take it from what has been written above, that some people here don't think that anyone should have 'negative feelings', or be left 'feeling dirty' (to use Herr Arnulfe's phrase), as it were, when playing an RPG? Would those people say the same for literature or film?
WotC didn't feel comfortable having rape as the default origin story for Half-Orcs.

I dont advise exploring "shades of grey" with fascism. Literature and film don't do this either.

That's all I said. What are you driving at anyway?
I was interested to know if people here think that there is any subject that should not be in any (TT)RPG, and, at the same time, if people here think that certain feelings (for want of a better term) should be avoided in (TT)RPGs, and, at the same time, if people here think that those subjects and feelings (again, for want of a better term) should be avoided in other media (such as literature and film) or if (TT)RPGs are a peculiar case, or an exception, one way or the other.
Herr Arnulfe
Posts: 134
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:06 am

totsuzenheni wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 5:38 am
I was interested to know if people here think that there is any subject that should not be in any (TT)RPG, and, at the same time, if people here think that certain feelings (for want of a better term) should be avoided in (TT)RPGs, and, at the same time, if people here think that those subjects and feelings (again, for want of a better term) should be avoided in other media (such as literature and film) or if (TT)RPGs are a peculiar case, or an exception, one way or the other.
OK. It seemed very specifically targeted at me, but if it was a general question then I'll let others answer.
Le Passant
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:20 am

Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 5:16 am
Le Passant wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 4:37 am
I truly have problems seeing the problem in, say, violent Drow society or Orcish intelligence malus. I don't understand why it would be of any impact for real humans or life.
I am somewhat disturbed by people getting really offended by attacks on fascism, misogyny and trivial D&D species tweaks that are being made for the sake of inclusivity. What kinds of games are these people playing anyway? Anyone who knows me from the London conventions can attest to the fact that I don't shy away from adult content.
I'm not offended, actually, I just don't understand how those tweaks can be justified. :)
Herr Arnulfe
Posts: 134
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:06 am

Le Passant wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 5:46 am
I'm not offended, actually, I just don't understand how those tweaks can be justified. :)
You're veering awfully close to defending fascism though, with the early Mussolini example. Is that really the kind of edgelord WFRP game that you think we should be exploring in 2020 - what-if scenarios in which fascism is a desirable form of government? You realise that Warhammer 40K was intended to be ironic right?
Robin
Posts: 41
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:26 am

Le Passant wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 5:46 am
I'm not offended, actually, I just don't understand how those tweaks can be justified. :)
The justification is that:

a significant portion of the existing player base does find this kind of thing extremely offensive.

a potential part of the market is being lost due to lack of inclusivity

there is increasing scrutiny of these issues in wider society at the moment.


Any company with an ounce of common sense will be looking at their IP and how they present it to the market, even if they just do it for cynical commercial reasons.

Regards,
Robin
Le Passant
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:20 am

Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 5:55 am
Le Passant wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 5:46 am
I'm not offended, actually, I just don't understand how those tweaks can be justified. :)
You're veering awfully close to defending fascism though, with the early Mussolini example. Is that really the kind of edgelord WFRP game that you think we should be exploring in 2020 - what-if scenarios in which fascism is a desirable form of government? You realise that Warhammer 40K was intended to be ironic right?
Wow, I think there is confusion here. Where would I defend facism ? I speak about history, and I never spoke about "desirable form of governement". I spoke about context, and why an ideology or a politic would be thought after/effective in a certain historical context. The fact that I said Mussolini had some economical success does not mean I said the ideology beneath the fascism political regime is enviable. Please, don't assign me political thoughts like that. :)

I understand the cynical commercial reasons, I just don't understand how and why a fantasy race could be equalled to earth ethnies.
Herr Arnulfe
Posts: 134
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:06 am

Le Passant wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 6:21 am
Wow, I think there is confusion here. Where would I defend facism ? I speak about history, and I never spoke about "desirable form of governement". I spoke about context, and why an ideology or a politic would be thought after/effective in a certain historical context. The fact that I said Mussolini had some economical success does not mean I said the ideology beneath the fascism political regime is enviable. Please, don't assign me political thoughts like that. :)
Just please be careful about what you're proposing. Warhammer has a problem with misogynists and crypto-fascists, and we don't need any more of that crap associated with our hobby. Below in bold is where I felt you were veering close to defending fascism:

"Fascism is a political system established in Italy in a certain context. I think it can be debatable, as long as it shows the effects it could have had in its own context. Historical figures like Churchill or Ghandi were actually very envious of its economical and societal success. I don't endorse Fascism, absolutely not, but an analysis must always embrace all the aspects and replace them in a social context."
Le Passant
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:20 am

Perhaps the confusion come from the word "debatable" ? I don't think fascism is debatable as in "perhaps it could be good, perhaps not", I think fascism in history can be discussed.

English is not my primary language, I probably used a formulation not suitable in English and if that's the cas I'm sorry ("Je pense qu'il est possible de débattre du fascisme, tant qu'on montre les effets qu'il a pu avoir dans son contexte propre" do not seem problematic to me, in french).
Robin
Posts: 41
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Le Passant wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 6:21 am
I understand the cynical commercial reasons, I just don't understand how and why a fantasy race could be equalled to earth ethnies.
Well, to quote a Moderator in a recent ban on someone at RPG.net:

Oher people have mentioned why the treatment of some minorities is mirrored in the way "evil races" are framed in these imaginary worlds. That "violence without guilt"? That might feel like fantasy to you, but it's not for a lot of people. People who play these games. I'm sure that if I asked directly, you'd probably answer that you wouldn't want to deliberately exclude people.

This post, and your conduct throughout the thread, does exactly that. It's a rant on being color-blind re: orcs, aggressively oblivious to people informing you the way orcs are presented matches their experience of racism.


The bolded bits are particularly significant. For some people, this is not simply fantasy, it is a mirror of their actual real experience.

Regards,
Robin
Herr Arnulfe
Posts: 134
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:06 am

Le Passant wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 6:40 am
Perhaps the confusion come from the word "debatable" ? I don't think fascism is debatable as in "perhaps it could be good, perhaps not", I think fascism in history can be discussed.

English is not my primary language, I probably used a formulation not suitable in English and if that's the cas I'm sorry ("Je pense qu'il est possible de débattre du fascisme, tant qu'on montre les effets qu'il a pu avoir dans son contexte propre" do not seem problematic to me, in french).
"Debatable" was probably the wrong word, yes. But even trying to contextualize a "Warhammerized" fascist regime against pre-war Italy is fraught with pitfalls. e.g. I hope you plan to mention the brutal blackshirts that were enforcing Mussolini's utopia? If you plan to include any fascist apologia in your Araby sourcebook, you might have a handful of people call it brilliant but you'd better be prepared to answer for it to others.
Le Passant
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:20 am

Wow, there is some misunderstanding here.

I NEVER made fascism apologia (nor for any other form of government, by the way), I NEVER said I would speak about fascism in that sourcebook, I NEVER spoke about a successful Mussolini utopia.

I think I will stop writing in this thread, sorry to have interrupted. :shock:
Herr Arnulfe
Posts: 134
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:06 am

OK, let's get back to discussing games about punching nazis and misogynists in the face. :)
FasterThanJesus
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Joined: Thu Jun 20, 2019 4:30 pm
Location: UK

Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Sat Jul 25, 2020 6:24 pm
Being sensitive to players of diverse backgrounds is not the same as politicizing the game.

Also, one can explore a lot of human interest topics that have nothing to do with politics, or one can go the route Toby did and create direct analogues of current politics. WFRP1e riffed on 1980's culture; should WFRP 4e not riff on 2020 culture? e.g. Should WFRP be treating Nurgle cultists as sympathetic characters now, or should they be unambiguous villains?
I guess that would be my issue. What was a late medieval/early renaissance Europe as viewed from 80s (probably a lefty view of class warfare) is very big slice of what makes WFRP what it is to me at least. Veering too far from this would dilute the game or maybe make it something quite different.

I actually think a part of the issue we are seeing could be largely down to WFRP being incapable of getting out of The Empire in any meaningful way. A paradox has been created where The Empire is WFRP, and WFRP is The Empire. Look at how Cubicle 7 have picked up the license: Ubersreik and TEW and not much sign of anything else.

As to the second part of your statement, I think Nurgle cultists can be legitimately played in either way. Villians can have any of the morality spectrums and how effective this is will be down to the writing and the suitability to the plot.

I had earlier drafted a long meandering post that wasn't going too far, so deleted most of it. But I think it could be summed up as the WFRP world being an adequate framework for the individual GMs and groups to be able to build something suitable for wide audiance. The widest audience would be silly because not everyone likes roleplaying games, and of those that do, not all like fantasy worlds, of those that do not all like horror or lower fantasy etc. etc. The trick is to find the suitable dividing line and IMO WFRP v4 is about right here excepting my earlier point that it has extreme Empire-centrism.
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Orin J.
Posts: 469
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Robin wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 6:48 am
Le Passant wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 6:21 am
I understand the cynical commercial reasons, I just don't understand how and why a fantasy race could be equalled to earth ethnies.
Well, to quote a Moderator in a recent ban on someone at RPG.net:

Oher people have mentioned why the treatment of some minorities is mirrored in the way "evil races" are framed in these imaginary worlds. That "violence without guilt"? That might feel like fantasy to you, but it's not for a lot of people. People who play these games. I'm sure that if I asked directly, you'd probably answer that you wouldn't want to deliberately exclude people.

This post, and your conduct throughout the thread, does exactly that. It's a rant on being color-blind re: orcs, aggressively oblivious to people informing you the way orcs are presented matches their experience of racism.


The bolded bits are particularly significant. For some people, this is not simply fantasy, it is a mirror of their actual real experience.

Regards,
Robin
in Passant's defense, where he's from may have a wildly different history with racism than where other members of the community are from so his group likely has no issues with things i, as an american, would steer well away from. it's important to remember when online racism isn't something with a concrete definition and often is entirely subjective. the tricky part is learning to discern the difference between willful racism and cultural boundries, which i am quick to admit can often be impossible over the internet.

my, but we're teetering over the ledge of a rather intense discussion....might i suggest everyone leave those heavy preconceptions over there before we overbalance into accusations?
Herr Arnulfe
Posts: 134
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:06 am

Orin J. wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 3:49 pm
in Passant's defense, where he's from may have a wildly different history with racism than where other members of the community are from so his group likely has no issues with things i, as an american, would steer well away from. it's important to remember when online racism isn't something with a concrete definition and often is entirely subjective. the tricky part is learning to discern the difference between willful racism and cultural boundries, which i am quick to admit can often be impossible over the internet.

my, but we're teetering over the ledge of a rather intense discussion....might i suggest everyone leave those heavy preconceptions over there before we overbalance into accusations?
I acknowledge that in rural Nova Scotia, Canada, my greatest fear from white supremacists is "Dukes of Hazzard" wannabes that I can probably take in a fistfight if necessary. However, in Europe and the US, people might feel more scared to speak out against fascism. When I received death threats from a German neo-nazi WFRP fan 8 years ago, I wasn't especially worried, but someone who lives there would justifiably be more concerned. So I don't expect people to speak out against fascism necessarily, but before saying that WFRP shouldn't be politicized, just remember that silence is the language of the oppressor.
Whymme
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:18 pm

It's not as much a fear of speaking out against fascism, but an understanding that it is more complicated than "They're the bad guys, we're the good ones (and so it is all right to use violence against them)." Yes, fascism and fascist ideas must be opposed, but without understanding where those ideas come from, why people feel attracted to those ideologies, it's a never-ending fight. I think that that was what Le Passant was getting at when he wrote that fascist ideology must be debatable. Just like colonialism, racism, and so on, BTW.

And there are games that do explore these issues. The people from Sit Down and Shut Up mentioned a game (I've forgotten the name) that explored inequality/colonialism. In that game one of the PCs was the boss, with the power to decide what everyone should do, who should get perks and who not, while the other PCs were subservient to that boss. They could come with suggestions and initiatives of their own, but in the end they would have to give in to the boss's whims, opinions and desires.
There is Greg Costykian's 'Violence' (which Toby has mentioned a couple of times), a sort of meta-RPG, where at the end of a session where you've dug into the dungeon to loot treasure and massacre orcs, you're told that your PCs were actually a bunch of skinhead thugs, who razed through a housing project, killing the people who live there and taking their valuables.

So RPGs can be a way to approach these subjects. Not every RPG has to do that, but it certainly is possible.

And speaking about WFRP, of course it is politicised. Part of the WFRP background (first edition, at least), was a sharp critique against Thatcherism. The Sigmar/Ulric rivalry in the setting, the institutional racism, the shunning of mutants - they're all political subjects. Now, how and whether a particular group and GM would approach these issues, is a different story. It is not too hard to ignore all that stuff in favour of some happy Orc-bashing, if that's what you prefer. But if you want to explore political issues, the WFRP background gives you ample opportunity to do so.
Herr Arnulfe
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Whymme wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 2:58 am
It's not as much a fear of speaking out against fascism, but an understanding that it is more complicated than "They're the bad guys, we're the good ones (and so it is all right to use violence against them)." Yes, fascism and fascist ideas must be opposed, but without understanding where those ideas come from, why people feel attracted to those ideologies, it's a never-ending fight. I think that that was what Le Passant was getting at when he wrote that fascist ideology must be debatable. Just like colonialism, racism, and so on, BTW.
So WFRP should steer towards non-violent solutions to fascism? e.g. Games about talking to Magritte von Wittgenstein and convincing her to give up human experimentation? Or perhaps convincing her mutant-faced thugs to rise up against her?

I'm not sure what sort of debate you're envisioning around Mussolini's Italy, but in the interest of openness I'm willing to have that debate with you if you want. I do not think La Passant was defending fascism, but his trajectory was headed in that direction.
Whymme wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 2:58 am
And there are games that do explore these issues. The people from Sit Down and Shut Up mentioned a game (I've forgotten the name) that explored inequality/colonialism. In that game one of the PCs was the boss, with the power to decide what everyone should do, who should get perks and who not, while the other PCs were subservient to that boss. They could come with suggestions and initiatives of their own, but in the end they would have to give in to the boss's whims, opinions and desires.
There is Greg Costykian's 'Violence' (which Toby has mentioned a couple of times), a sort of meta-RPG, where at the end of a session where you've dug into the dungeon to loot treasure and massacre orcs, you're told that your PCs were actually a bunch of skinhead thugs, who razed through a housing project, killing the people who live there and taking their valuables.

So RPGs can be a way to approach these subjects. Not every RPG has to do that, but it certainly is possible.
Are you envisioning a sort of Jeepform-style WFRP game aimed at the far-right extremists that have infiltrated the fanbase, to encourage deeper introspection and understanding? Or would this be for the minorities who are afraid of the Warhammer hobby because of those far-right extremists?
Whymme wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 2:58 am
And speaking about WFRP, of course it is politicised. Part of the WFRP background (first edition, at least), was a sharp critique against Thatcherism. The Sigmar/Ulric rivalry in the setting, the institutional racism, the shunning of mutants - they're all political subjects. Now, how and whether a particular group and GM would approach these issues, is a different story. It is not too hard to ignore all that stuff in favour of some happy Orc-bashing, if that's what you prefer. But if you want to explore political issues, the WFRP background gives you ample opportunity to do so.
I agree! Discussing fresh, relevant approaches to WFRP politics is exactly what what this thread is about. So don't let me stop you from politicizing WFRP - I embrace it. However, as Death on the Reik proves, it's possible to play WFRP games about punching nazis in the face which are also complex and interesting.
Braddoc
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:16 pm

I think it does more with being able to argumentively beat fascism rather than using violence. I agree with Le Passant's thoughts about being an debatable subject; we must be able to discuss the matter is to be resolved. Using violence just drags things on with the intellectual equivalence of sticking thier heads in the sand and kicking wildly.

No idea who that Magritte and that Jeepform RPG are, had to look it up, one 'seems to be from Death on the Reik, while the other is a style of LARPing.


Just a thought....

but have you ever maybe thought that those 'far-right extremists that have infiltrated the fanbase' were...always there? Perhaps even right from the beginning? Maybe they saw a cool game to play with rather than a political platform to be lectured with. They were there to play a game and not think of real life for a few hours playing some illeterate yokel who never has a need to use the backhouse looking for flying skulls in the forest.

And minorities who are afraid of WHFRP and the hobby as a whole? They either saw the price tag, or are not turned on toward the setting that's vehiculated by the art.
If they came from the video games, the Fantasy ones clearly are showed as European-esque, German Holy Empire specifically for the Empire. So they know minorities are not a thing it's Renaissance HRE.
The 40k ones are usually Space Marine centric, but again this came from the Old World (i.e Europe, England and co.), and even then there is visible diversity amongst the Chapters, and the 40k universe does see Humanity united for a change, so that's pretty welcoming..

Maybe..maybe they're just unconfortable around people they do not know because they're 'not like them'?

As someone wrote earlier, never anyone at his table was represented in his game, becasue that's not why they're here for.

Not everything has to be political. You can use things to laugh at politics, but using it to do politics is not the same.

Haven't read DotR yet....so that castle is inhabited by Aristocratic Nobles who are evil chaos worshippers who terrorize the local populace with thier foul practices and ways? 'Seems rather cliché to me...
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