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Monday, 2 November 2015

10th Anniversary Classic Rant: "Progressive" RPGs?

John Snead just doesn't know when to quit, does he? Now he's off again, on of course, bemoaning the fact that there aren't enough "Progressive" RPGs out there.

Ironically, but unsurprisingly, he claims that as far as "Progressive" RPGs go, "One obvious example is Blue Rose."

Is it!? What the fuck are you defining as "progressive"? I guess if you're defining "progressive" as "a society so utterly controlled that it can never progress in any way ever, because you have a giant horned deus ex machina making sure that social change is IMPOSSIBLE".

But really, is that progressive? I guess these days, for many of the Marxist-collectivist-feminist college-ultraliberal crowd, it is. Their idea of "progress" is to create a collectivist police state, and then to be more reactionary than Atilla the Hun in making sure it doesn't get changed in any way. That's why they're consistently against reforming any of their sacred cows, even if its clear that those sacred cows are no longer working or doing what they intended to do in the first place. Most people who call themselves "Progressive" are among the most reactionary dogmatic, change-resistant people around.

Bizzarely, Snead goes on to lump Blue Rose in with Midnight, saying that Midnight "can be classified as firmly non-conservative". 
Some of you might remember, from my Top 30 Blue Rose quotes, that I once described Blue Rose as "more dystopian than Midnight". Anyways, yet AGAIN, Snead's supposed reasons for his statement above is another shocking revelation of what a poor political understanding Mr. Snead really has, and how utterly reprehensible his "progressive" politics really are.

He says: "[in Midnight] An unquestionably evil regime has conquered the world, and the PCs are heroic freedom fighters". And THAT is why he thinks of it as "progressive"? Because there's an utterly black-and-white EVIL Overlord who must be destroyed at all costs? I mean, can any of you read that and not imagine Mr. Snead looking up at his poster of Bush as a vampire sucking on the statue of liberty and nodding in self-supposed wisdom?!
Its enough to make me agree with John Morrow on his views about Bush-hate and its irrationality! It certainly makes it blatantly clear that Snead and any "Progressives" like him are truly dangerous human beings. And again, they are more reactionary than progressive, in every way that counts: they believe that they are on a holy crusade, that those who disagree with them are "unquestionably evil" and that they must defeat them utterly.

This is not reasonable liberalism we're talking about here, based on valuing the equality of all men, universal liberty, and the democratic principle; no, this is Chavez-style "Bush is el Diablo, the King of Spain is a Fascist" style absolutism. Its that same Chavez-style megalomania, believing that you can not only define what is best for you, but what is best for everyone; and that everyone else should be forced to agree, and if they don't agree, they must be evil.

I could go on, like about how Snead gives as an example of a "democratic" society his homebrew Exalted campaign where a small group of "enlightened mortals" are the ones who govern over the mass of humanity... I mean shit, this guy seems to be LITERALLY ignorant of how real democracy works. Its stunning. But in any case, I think the evidence has been made clear. Of course, all the Fashionistas at are fawning over this mental excrement that Snead chose to drop like a turd onto the board, but that isn't a surprise given that too believes in a "progressive" system where a tiny group of self-styled elites (the mods) can govern, impose their version of reality, and ruthlessly eliminate anyone who opposes them.

Shit, I'm starting to think I was wrong; I used to describe these Swine fuckers as losers who think they're experts on politics and world affairs because they passed a "Poli-sci 101" course at community college. Now I'm starting to think that they actually failed said course.


(Originally Posted November 29, 2007)


  1. Anything can be progressive or reactionary based on the values it promulgates. This certainly applies to books, and to D&D, though the game runner has a lot to do with how the game is set up. Tolkien was reactionary. His LOTR expressed a colonial worldview with some races, such as Orcs, less than human, and others, such as Elves, clearly superior to humanity. Tolkien later decried the Nazism for perverting his fantasy of the pure Nordic race and the golden age in Europe. Fritz Leiber, in contrast, was a progressive author coming from a left-wing theater background, his Lankhmar was based on prohibition era New York with, the adventures of his characters mirroring his own romps through the New York's speakeasies and other interesting places, in the company of a very large drinking buddy, and their views had as little to do with the German patriotic communities, all the rage at the time, as communist international.

    When Tolkien's literature migrated to the US in the 1960's and took hold among he grad students, they were blissfully unaware of the colonial influences implicit in Tolkien's work and the colonial typology of the humanoid races at war with the humanity and the demi-humans found its was into D&D.

    I run a positive and progressive AD&D campaign. At first, I wanted to make it an all-human world, to avoid the untermenschen and the herrenvolk, but then I decided that this would take away from the texture of the fantasy setting, and made all the fantasy races at least equal to humanity in intellect, and capable of both, good and evil. My intelligently led and organized Goblins have given my players nightmares, and my players were bewildered when their Christian clerics encountered Christian Goblins. Why not use real world religion in a fantasy setting? I tried to explain kill the monster take the treasure dynamic from D&D to a retired cop once. You know what he said? This is an armed robbery! Kill the victim, take their money, treasure. They are glorifying violent crime! Since then I have seen otherwise respectable and descent players emulate thieves, liars, and psychopaths in their dealings with the game's NPC's. Tell me, moral and ethical retardation among the gamers, what are we gonna chalk it up to?

    1. I think he's serious and his question only makes sense if you buy his premise that you can have moral and ethical lapses in an escapist fantasy. As I reject the premise, the question is a wastep of my time to answer. His campaign could be interesting, high medieval perhaps with the goblins having been converted at sword point. Of course, once you have two factions in any system of ethical behavior, you get HERESY! Those other guys are perverting all that's right and true, we better make a deal with the dragon and crush them before the infection spreads. Lots of role playing opportunities in that environment.

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    3. When people explain me what is the good way to think ... progressive ... I am always a little afraid :-)

      Midnight is a funny example, because if you put yourself in the place of the Orcs, then you are quickly bored by these stupid humains who want to destroy your splendid empire !

      Things are not black or white, it only depend one your point of view, and it is fun to play differents situations, just for the fun to change of point of view ... it is a game

      To speak about Tolkien's view on species, some superiors (the Elves) and others inferior (the Orcs) ... human being in the middle, I think you should never forget de difference between life and Life. :-)
      We all have a unique life as individual, and we are individually superior to ants ... but if you consider the potential of the species to go on living after a nuclear war or any climatic disaster .... I have the feeling that ants have a better potential to go on living as a species : Life.
      It is the same in Tolkien, where the Elves, even is superior to everybody (immortal, smart, handsome) is a dying species compare to the Orcs that is a booming species, even if individually they seems inferior (stupid, ugly, short lived)...
      when you think at inferior/superior always wonder at the comparison criteria ... is beauty a good criteria for survival of the species ?
      awnser is not simple, because half elves use beauty to breed with humains, so in a way they survive ... so it is a not so bad criteria :-)
      I would said for a species : "Vita ultima ratio"

    4. What the fuck was that? You are seriously using a lot of fancy words to disguise how much of a idiot you are. If you think playing a game shows a person's true self, then you need to get out in real life for awhile. Serious you need to do that for your own benefit.

    5. You sound naive. Games in general and role playing in particular has been used since the 1960's for both therapy, assessment, as well as for training and development. Both D&D and Diplomacy migrated into gaming from the government, and there is a military position title called Game Master, Majors and above can apply, and that excludes you. BTW, in certain circles you role-play wrong, and it may cost you a promotion and possibly a job. Go tell than they are a bunch of idiots running your world...

    6. Please do tell us more about the secret conspiracy of Military-Industrial Game Masters that run the world and are out to ruin your life.

    7. I am not a conspiracy theorist. Didn't you complain about the imbeciles running things in Argentina? I don't think they are. I like living in the US and I voted for Obama twice. He is a statesman. I liked his speeches better than I liked the stuff said during the Republican national convention. Sarah Palin was so obviously disingenuous, you need to keep her away from the office like the fire from gasoline. I admire George H.W. Busch, and voted for him, but not his son. My life is great, and I hope you enjoy yours as much as I do mine.

      Regarding your sidelong question. A good friend of mine was trained as a game master and got a sizable promotion out of running general staff exercises. Do you research into the roots and the influences on the development of the game called Diplomacy, also read up on work conducted by Jacob Moreno and the awesome and wondrous applications that it took.

      BTW, not to name anyone specifically. A long, long time ago, I ran an Aftermath! game taking place shortly after WW3. Looking at it now, it is astonishing how more than a half made professional and life choices later in life, that resembled their player characters from that game. Of course, it's the depth of the game, the DM's abilities and the setting, but still...

  2. Get your mind out of the gutter, Rod ;-), nobody converted those Goblins to Christianity at sword point, this is an escapist fantasy, remember? Goblins discovered Christianity as a means of survival against the undead, which true believers can turn by speaking the Holy Name, and by means of other miracle work that benefitted Goblin communities as a whole. Actually it was the natural outgrowth of the cult of Light and Purity, practiced by Goblin medicine men, that drew strength from the Sun itself.
    It has been my experience with the D&D players, that those, who play backstabbing and double crossing PC’s in the game, generally turn out to be passive aggressive weasels in real life. Most people aren’t actors, and generally play themselves, and as far as fantasy role playing is concerned, generally revealing their true selves in the process. Behavior at the gaming table, including the moral lapses, is a learning experience, which is why role playing is used to train people for combat and a few other things, with a more profound effect than you would think.

    1. players, who play backstabbing (I know some like this) does not play very long, because people do not bear this very long.
      But you are true, we hardly play something original ... we can emphase a part of our personnality, a "good" part or a "bad" part, but finaly it is still us

  3. Hey, Pierre!

    I wasn't talking about players back stabbing each other, rather players acting as wannabe psychopaths towards NPC's in the game. Ironically, these PC's were GOOD-aligned and players weren't aware of their play style.