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Saturday, 25 February 2017

Classic Rant: RPGs You Should Look At If You Care About Inclusivity

There's been a lot of talk of late about how RPGs need to be inclusive, and totally false bullshit accusations about who is or isn't inclusive; most of this talk has been coming from people who have never actually DONE a fucking thing to make the hobby more inclusive, other than brag about how "socially conscious" they are while calling disabled women "fucksacks" for disagreeing with them, and pretending that the hobby will be inclusive by censoring and blacklisting anyone they don't personally like.

We should not, however, mistake these Opportunistic Pieces of Shit for actual spokespeople for any thing or anyone other than themselves and their own self-absorbed grandeur. Nor should we, importantly, mistake the kind of witch-hunting and vicious power-mongering they're engaging in for actual concern for inclusivity.
But most important of all, we shouldn't let the example of these fuckheads turn us off from the idea of RPGs being inclusive. That's really the worst part of the kind of shit these people pull: it makes people react AGAINST being inclusive; because they think "well, these people claim to be the spokespeople for being inclusive, and they're pretentious assholes who claim that to be inclusive we all have to do what they say, including a few things I seriously disagree with, so really just fuck 'inclusion'".

And that's a problem. We WANT this hobby to be more inclusive. Not in the fake way these self-absorbed pseudo-activists are trying to use inclusivity to push their own agenda, but in the real sense of being an actually welcoming hobby for everyone and presenting a diverse hobby; because diversity is awesome.

Does that sound a bit corny? I don't mean it in a corny kind of "The more you know" psa kind of way. I mean it in the literal sense; that having a more diverse hobby means that more awesome potential for roleplaying exists. 

How about we consider a couple of RPGs that are actually diverse and inclusive:

First, Lords of Olympus. It's an RPG about playing the children of Greek Gods, sure, but if you take a look at the HUGE setting section, which includes probably the most detailed setting information on Greek Mythology ever done for an RPG, you'll see that the NPC descriptions include a large number of powerful and fascinating female characters, as well as characters who are of all variety of sexualities, all presented in a serious and positive light. The setting assumes as a default that PCs can be whatever gender or sexuality they wish, and gives role models in the form of the backstories of the NPCs who will be the characters' relatives. And because a huge part of the action in LoO is (mythic-level) "Family Drama", the diversity of characters and relationships makes LoO directly MORE AWESOME.

Second, an even better example in Arrows of Indra. It's already been mentioned in a lot of places that AoI is the first RPG rulebook ever to feature a heroic transgendered character on the cover. It should also be noted that AoI introduces an awesome, detailed, historically-attentive presentation of a setting closely-copied from a non-western culture! As I've said before, one of the reasons I chose to stick close to the authentic mythology and legends of "Epic India" is because I realized very quickly that I literally could not do better; trying to make a "vaguely-india-based fantasy setting" would not have been better than the incredible richness of mythic themes and adventuring potential found in the real deal. By being inclusive and diverse (and authentic), it makes AoI MORE AWESOME, than just creating some other vaguely-exotic D&D-setting. I should also mention that AoI approaches the issue of gender and sexuality.

Oh yeah, and I should note that I wrote all this stuff BEFORE I ever Consulted for WoTC. I've been pushing inclusiveness for literally longer than 5e has existed. Unfortunately, the reason why my detractors have been able to lie about my views on all this is because unlike them, I wasn't in it to feel smug or get groovy-points for how socially conscious I was being. It wasn't about ME, it was about making my game better and actually really making something new and more interesting for the hobby. You know, REAL inclusiveness. 


(August 2, 2014)

1 comment:

  1. I thought anyone who wanted could play an RPG anytime he or she desired to do so, time allowing of course. How much more inclusive can a hobby be. There are no barriers to entry these days, given that most everything can be found in free versions, aside from perhaps illiteracy. Is there some agency stopping certain people from playing RPGs now?