Gender, Race, Sexuality, and more... They need to be discussed, so how do we discuss them?

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We're all here to talk about D&D. The thing about D&D, indeed the thing about all fiction, is that it in many ways is a reflection of reality. Understanding the fictions that we create and why we create them is a window into our own realities. What we experience in the real world affects the fictions that we create and thus the D&D characters and games that we play. This is not a simple side effect. Indeed, I would argue that it is a function of fantasy and that it is thus a function of D&D.

I understand that "politics" are against the code of conduct. However, this board is about D&D and its art, its flavor, and its stories, and to discuss those matters, because D&D is a reflection of reality, we do need to discuss and figure out how factors that we experience in reality play into the game, particularly its story, flavor, and art. As a simple example, physics as it exists in the game world at least attempts to approximate physics as we know it. Social realities, what some might call "political" realities, are similar. Indeed, exactly because D&D as a work of fiction is a reflection of our reality, it is impossible for D&D not to address these social realities. It is impossible for D&D not to address gender or race or sexuality or socioeconomic class or ability, factors of our reality that many would deem "political".

So what is this thread? Well, the fact is that if this board is to do its job as a place for us to discuss D&D's story, flavor, and art in any way that's actually deep and socially relevant, we need to be able to discuss these things. We need to be able to discuss gender and race and sex and more. And often, we will need to include discussion of real-world "political" realities to explain ourselves, exactly because D&D is a reflection of them. So, how do we do it? This is where I would actually like the mods to weigh in if they can (though I hardly expect them to). How can we have a serious discussion about these topics and how they relate to D&D? How can this board fulfill its purpose? Do the rules need to be changed, or do we need to change how we work within the rules?

Right now, we're walking on eggshells, not really discussing the kinds of things that we need to be able to discuss. It's far too easy for a discussion to finally look like it's going somewhere but then get completely ruined by a couple of posts that end up getting a whole thread locked down. Why this is bad should be obvious. A great example comes from this article. The article's writer, Jon Schindehette, links to this article, which discusses many of these "political" issues. In the comments section, Jon even responded to one post by saying:
"This is SUCH a huge discussion. I wish I could have a giant room filled with folks that wanted to have a discussion about this subject. Email, forums, twitters just don't provide good means of having this discussion. That said, I want to hear folks opinions on this subject."
Know where Jon should be able to look? Right here on this board, "D&D Next Story, Flavor, and Art". We should be discussing all of that stuff right here.

I briefly considered posting this on Community Business, but this is really of specific and particular relevant to this board. We need to figure out how we're going to discuss these things, because they're things that we need to be discussing.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
Let me first get this out of the way - you're absolutely right.  We do need to have the ability to discuss these topics within the context of D&D.


However, the subjects of gender, race, sexuality, and others are also sensitive topics.  The main reason discussion of real world politics is not allowed on this forum is that it is a sensitive topic that everyone has an opinion on and most of the time those opinions clash with unfortunate results.


What we, the community management team and the ORCs, can do to keep this topic on track is to closely monitor it and, if it needs to be closed, clean up the offending material and reopen it to keep the conversation going.  We, the community management team, can also weigh in with our own personal opinions (and perhaps poke Jon Schindehette and others to take a look at it and add their two cents).


What you, the community, can do is take steps to make sure this thread stays on topic, avoiding personal attacks and CoC violations.  Remember that you can disagree with someone without insulting them, their choices, preferences, lifestyle, or gaming habits.


Let's work together to make this work and have a constructive, helpful, and sincere conversation.     

All around helpful simian

it is impossible for D&D not to address these social realities. It is impossible for D&D not to address gender or race or sexuality or socioeconomic class or ability,



Apparently this is subjective, as I can't recall EVER addressing any of that in a D&D game.  I don't think a game where you're trying to get together and have fun with folks is a good place for anybody to be promoting a platform, even if it's a platform I agree with.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
it is impossible for D&D not to address these social realities. It is impossible for D&D not to address gender or race or sexuality or socioeconomic class or ability,



Apparently this is subjective, as I can't recall EVER addressing any of that in a D&D game.  I don't think a game where you're trying to get together and have fun with folks is a good place for anybody to be promoting a platform, even if it's a platform I agree with.



Just from a personal perspective, you're right, it is subjective, as these issues come up quite frequently in my home games.  My players enjoy the challenge of making difficult choices and it enriches the story and the game world when they do.

All around helpful simian

Apparently this is subjective, as I can't recall EVER addressing any of that in a D&D game.

I apologize if I was unclear, but I was referring to D&D as a general medium, not any specific D&D game. It's certainly possible to run a D&D game where some of these things never come up, but designing the story, flavor, and art of D&D around the assumption that they won't is a big mistake.

Besides, I'm certain that you have most likely included at least some of these themes before, whether you realize it or not. Has any character in any campaign that you've played in ever been male or female? If so, then their characterization was based on a real-world understanding of teir gender. Your campaign doesn't have to address issues of sexism in order for gender to come up, and because gender is going to be something that comes up, it's something that those people working on story, flavor, and art should think about how they're going to depict.

Have you ever included a succubus or nymph in your games? If so, then your games have included an element of sexuality. Do the people that you play with only every play characters that are racially ambiguous? Because if characters could ever be described as looking black or white or anything else with a real-world counterpart, then your games have included elements of race (and this even also applies to many of the more human-like races, such as Dwarves, Elves, and Halflings). Has any character ever been introduced that had a scar, burn, eye patch, peg leg, hook hand, or something else of that nature? If so, then you've just added an element of disability, and if not, then you've reaffirmed ableism as an element, so there's no real escaping that one. Has your game ever included money or gold, and have characters been motivated by it? If so, then you've added an economic element that's very difficult to separate from socioeconomic class.

I don't think a game where you're trying to get together and have fun with folks is a good place for anybody to be promoting a platform, even if it's a platform I agree with.

The disconnect that we're having here is that you seem to think that I'm talking about D&D or campaigns directly and explicitly addressing these themes, but that's not what I'm saying. A game does not have to be promoting any platform in order to include these elements. I can play a character that's male or female without introducing sexism as a campaign theme, I can play a character that's black or white without introducing racism as a campaign theme, and I can play a character that's missing an arm or an eye without introducing ableism as a campaign theme, but even if I don't introduce those things as campaign themes, I'm still introducing an element that is a reflection of the real world, an element that has familiar implications in the real world, and that shapes how it's depicted in the game.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
Anything WotC puts to paper will be ham-handed and offensive to somebody.  It's better to simply focus on creating a functional game world that offers players the freedom to decide for themselves what is part of their experience.   
Apparently this is subjective, as I can't recall EVER addressing any of that in a D&D game.  I don't think a game where you're trying to get together and have fun with folks is a good place for anybody to be promoting a platform, even if it's a platform I agree with.


This is where I think some of the confusion and divergence is occurring. It also occurs to me that this may be a cultural difference between the USA and Europe - me being on the European side.

What I mean is that I don't regard depicting difference of various kinds as 'promoting a platform'. It's just good world-building. And that view seems to be pretty common among other UK, Dutch and German gamers I've gamed with over the years.

But I'm well aware that American politics is very different from European. I'm not going to touch on specifics, because that would quite reasonably be viewed as breaking the rules here.

But consider - is it really unacceptably political for the game simply to include greater representation of non-white people, non-straight relationships (not sexual activity itself, obviously), or diverse gender presentations and marital arrangements? This is a fantasy game. Even if we don't expect to see all of those things on the next street corner, doesn't it add variety and wonder to our imagined worlds?

To put it another way: I'd want to have a damn good reason, when designing a world, to make it ethnically homogenous, lacking in varied customs of marriage and romance, and populated entirely by able-bodied, mentally stable people. And I'm not sure how believable my players, or anyone else, would find such a world.

Z.
It isn't about "How do we make this white as possible?"  It's about "How do we avoid pissing people off?".

Lets look at Africa.  An American has a different view of African Imperialism than a Frenchman does, or a Belgian.  A Frenchman has a different view of slavery than an American.  Both societies reached similiar conclusions at different times, and both continue to grapple with racism to this day.

So how do you come up with something that feels believable, without overstressing?  How do you make something that isn't insensitive to different cultures for different reasons?  How do you make something fair without appearing to be handicapping one group or another?  If fans project onto your fiction, how do you avoid them arguing you're being a racist or being politically correct?  It's incredibly challenging unless you twist fundamental assertions on their head in a novel way.  Elder Scrolls managed it via the Redguard, and their original as black imperialists.  You didn't feel too bad for the Men and Mer they killed because everyone in Tamriel is a jerk and it didn't feel weird.  But even then, "Why aren't there asians in The Elder Scrolls?"  etc.  

It never ends unless you somehow manage to create an entire planet with a detailed history of social interaction, wars, cultural trends, boons, and atrocities.   Which is almost impossible.
It isn't about "How do we make this white as possible?"  It's about "How do we avoid pissing people off?".

Lets look at Africa.  An American has a different view of African Imperialism than a Frenchman does, or a Belgian.  A Frenchman has a different view of slavery than an American.  Both societies reached similiar conclusions at different times, and both continue to grapple with racism to this day.




That may all be the case, but I don't think any of it is really relevant to D&D.  I can't think of a D&D setting that even attempts to provide a truly accurate portrait of a medieval european country; at most, a few artistic flourishes are borrowed from history to give it the veneer of an existing culture.  That being said, I can't think of ANYTHING in the D&D rules or most Dungeons and Dragons settings that wouldn't work with people of any ethnicity--or many ethnicities.  There's no reason that the typical quasi-medieval fantasy culture couldn't work fine with people of any sex or skin color.  A "Fighter" could be a legendary warrior out of Europe, East Asia, Africa, or the Middle East without any stretch of the imagination at all.

I think that people are exaggerating the difficulty of portraying people in an even-handed fashion.

Now, I'm not sure how easily we can discuss these matters, or how much it even matters.  I understand WOTC's desire to remove politics from the boards, but that's a fairly conservative policy.  "Avoid rocking the boat" IS a political stance.  So, I don't think that there's an honestly neutral ground to take here.  I just hope that WOTC takes all this into consideration in starting a new edition, with new art direction.  It's a nice opportunity to set an open-minded tone for the game and the hobby.
One thing that's incredibly important to understand, IMO, is that the people asking for diversity in D&D are not asking that D&D be a means to push an agenda.  Not at all, in fact.  All we're asking for is inclusion.  That's it. 
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Can somebody explain how exactly they propose WOTC could implement gender/racial/sexuality issues into the game? I'm not understanding why anyone thinks the responsibility is on them to accomplish this as opposed to the players.
D&D has had bits of inclusion. Book of Exalted Deeds actually had a picture of a lesbian fiend couple a paladin was torn about destroying.

Race, I think from 3e onward, has had some representations of diversity.

I really liked 4e's dwarven females, an alternate take on beauty that was inline with different cultural aesthetics than the ones that find elves hot.

All that said, I'd love to see more inclusion and find it distressing that mere representation is seen as a political act.

Personally I would love to see, at minimum, someone who uses the belt-of-gender-change to become the person they wanted to be on the inside. It isn't exactly fair to people that others see their inclusion in any entertainment as a form of political propaganda...

.....at the same time, I can unfortunately see the need for WotC to tread lightly in order to make a profit. And yes, I realize how cowardly that sounds.
One thing that's incredibly important to understand, IMO, is that the people asking for diversity in D&D are not asking that D&D be a means to push an agenda.  Not at all, in fact.  All we're asking for is inclusion.  That's it. 


I'd like to second this intent.  I'm not asking for the game to push a social agenda that I endorse, but I would like the game to cut back on the (hopefully) accidental aesops that anything unconventional is deviant or bad.
There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

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Can somebody explain how exactly they propose WOTC could implement gender/racial/sexuality issues into the game? I'm not understanding why anyone thinks the responsibility is on them to accomplish this as opposed to the players.


Well, for starters, they could include a matriarchial race that isn't rife with S&M lesbian fetishism and saddled with an evil alignment for the whole race (I'm looking at you, drow).
There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

One thing that's incredibly important to understand, IMO, is that the people asking for diversity in D&D are not asking that D&D be a means to push an agenda.  Not at all, in fact.  All we're asking for is inclusion.  That's it. 


I'd like to second this intent.  I'm not asking for the game to push a social agenda that I endorse, but I would like the game to cut back on the (hopefully) accidental aesops that anything unconventional is deviant or bad.



Can you give an example of this occuring in an official WOTC publication?
Can somebody explain how exactly they propose WOTC could implement gender/racial/sexuality issues into the game? I'm not understanding why anyone thinks the responsibility is on them to accomplish this as opposed to the players.


Well, for starters, they could include a matriarchial race that isn't rife with S&M lesbian fetishism and saddled with an evil alignment for the whole race (I'm looking at you, drow).



Yeah.

I really wish they'd get rid of that evil overarching alignment.

But seriously folks . . .
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quote author=56832398 post=519321747]Considering DnD is a game wouldn't all styles be gamist?[/quote]
One thing that's incredibly important to understand, IMO, is that the people asking for diversity in D&D are not asking that D&D be a means to push an agenda.  Not at all, in fact.  All we're asking for is inclusion.  That's it. 


I'd like to second this intent.  I'm not asking for the game to push a social agenda that I endorse, but I would like the game to cut back on the (hopefully) accidental aesops that anything unconventional is deviant or bad.



Can you give an example of this occuring in an official WOTC publication?


For starters, the drow.  A matriarchial race that is the game's only example of a powerful, female-ruled society must naturally be evil right?  The lesbian S&M is really just icing on the gender-biased cake.
Then, and this part is based on anecdotes heard from others, there is the BoVD's associations of fatness and cancer with evil.
There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

For starters, the drow.  A matriarchial race that is the game's only example of a powerful, female-ruled society must naturally be evil right?  The lesbian S&M is really just icing on the gender-biased cake.
Then, and this part is based on anecdotes heard from others, there is the BoVD's associations of fatness and cancer with evil.



I don't think you'll find anyone who would argue that cancer is "good". Diseases have historically been associated with witchcraft and dark spirits. I can't imagine anyone inflicting an illness on another as an act of good.

The only thing I recall about "fatness" in BoVD is a brief description of gluttonous behavior. Nowhere in the PHB does it give any bonuses or penalties for a character's height or weight, unless you count a heavier character being more of a burden to carry while unconcious. (Now that I think about, a character's weight also counts against the load carried by a mount or vehicle, but so what?)

As for the Drow, well OK there's no arguing with that (also tossing in the Beholders and Chromatic Dragons as evil matriarchal races). But nowhere else does it explicitly say that any other race is matriarchal or patriarchal or that they have to be played that way or even that you absolutely have to play the Drow that way.

I do agree that overall "fetishistic" nature of Drow artwork could be toned down, but that's more a matter of good taste.

For starters, the drow.  A matriarchial race that is the game's only example of a powerful, female-ruled society must naturally be evil right?  The lesbian S&M is really just icing on the gender-biased cake.



The S&M thing can go... that makes me roll my eyes everytime. As far as the matriarchal thing... I'm so sick of Lolth. Drow, in Greyhawk at least, are demon-worshippers--Lolth being the most recognized of which, but some drow worship Grazzt, Zugtmoy, etc. PPersonally, the Lolth worshippers can keep on being matriarchal, but other drow might not be so. Also, I'm for other races/cultures be presented as matriarchal and not evil (I can think of one, offhand, in Greyhawk, but that's not really applicable to non-Greyhawk players).

Then, and this part is based on anecdotes heard from others, there is the BoVD's associations of fatness and cancer with evil.



Not so much... It didn't portray obese or cancer-struck people as evil. Gluttony, yes, in that seven deadly sins sort of way. Cancer, only in the sense that disease is "evil".

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The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

—MechaPilot

Can somebody explain how exactly they propose WOTC could implement gender/racial/sexuality issues into the game?

They already do. Any time that they assign gender to a sample NPC or include artwork depicting a character with a distinct gender, they have included gender issues in the game. Any time that they assign racial characteristics to a sample NPC or or include artwork depicting a character with recognizable and familiar race, they have included racial issues in the game. Any time that they assign sexuality to a sample NPC, discuss thematic elements based on romance or sexuality, include artwork of a couple (such as a King and Queen), or include artwork designed to play to sexuality, they have included sexuality issues in the game.

I'm not understanding why anyone thinks the responsibility is on them to accomplish this as opposed to the players.

There is no "as opposed to". The responsibility lies with both WotC and the players. It's WotC that has the opportunity to set the example, though.

I don't think you'll find anyone who would argue that cancer is "good".

No, but we do encounter a problem when we depict people with cancer as undesirable. Having cancer does not make a person bad, but we still place this stigma on the people themselves. If you want a more obvious example, think about HIV and AIDS. Yes, we all agree that HIV and AIDS are not good, but there's such a stigma attached to them that people treat other people with them differently, as themselves undesirable. That's not okay.

But nowhere else does it explicitly say that any other race is matriarchal or patriarchal or that they have to be played that way or even that you absolutely have to play the Drow that way.

What's the point that you think that you're making here? No, we don't have to play anything the way that it's presented by default in D&D, but that doesn't mean that the default presentation does matter. The default presentation will be the one that everybody knows in common, and so it will be the one with the most weight to reflect on the game as a whole.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
I'd like to weigh in on the disability thing, as a person who both has mental disabilities and has worked with those who have both physical and mental disabilities.

Mental disabilities are one of those areas that is really, truly hard to "get right" IMHO. It does have to be handled with a lot of care. I would avoid trying to portray it through art and be very careful with descriptions. I've found that the Mental disability flaws portrayed in certain other systems that shall remain nameless can be both very inacurate and offensive. In short, if someone is going to write about about it, be sure it is very, VERY well researched and doesn't come across as just being there to be inclusive. I have bad memories of that kind of thing from the 70s.

Physical disabilities, such as a missing limb, are a lot easier to portray both in art and story and art. A pirate with a hook for a hand or peg leg. The adventurer with only one eye. I don't think much needs to be said here. The disability is obvious but the portraying it in an inoffensive way is not difficult.

For mental disabilities, trying to portray them through writing can run an interesting obstacle course. Outright saying the person has disability X is a bad idea. I don't think anyone will argue that. However they can be portrayed through mannerisms. Being unusually hyper-focused or absent-minded are common traits of characters but are also traits of people who suffer ADHD for example. Having an unusual method of walking, excess of gesticulation, a stutter, a higher pentient of physical contact of the comraderie variety. These are all things which could be portrayed through fluff and flavour.

Thinking through D&D, I'd say Tasslehoff Burfoot's wonderlust and short attention span might be a good example of how a certain level could be portrayed. There are people I've known with disabilities who are like that. There are even more though, whose disabilities were more subtle in how they played out.

On some other, more general things.

I'd like to see a return of overweight adventurers in the art. I'm tired of steroids everywhere. I miss when Orcus was fat too.

As far as racial diversity goes. It's never been a problem in my games. I've had people play black characters, asian characters, aboriginal north american characters, europeans, middle-easterners, etc, etc... The same with different sexualities. That's never been a problem either. I've had several homosexual roman legionaires in my games, both PCs and NPCs...considering the well known historical context, I don't think anyone should be objecting to that.

On a side note, transgender issues have been touched on ever since sex-change magic has been around so I think that's probably the easiest one that could be easily fit into the fluff. I knew players who went with it and never bothered to get their characters changed back because they had more fun after the fact.

All of this though, is something that really needs to be slid in gently. I think the artwork can be done with images that tell stories, such as the adventuring party setting out or a crew on the bridge of a spelljammer, etc... Those could really fit in the racial diversity.

For the disability and sexuality parts, I think fitting them in through writing and fluff is the better way to go. I think neutral suggestions in character background generation or story and plot hooks and descriptions of pregenerated NPCs would work well. Sexuality in the form of flirting could be done in the artwork and physical disabilities of certain types could be shown, but I'd leave highly intimate or extreme things to the purview of writing for the purposes of keeping the overall book friendly to everyone. Really, I think the novels would be a better segway for those topics.

Anyways, there's my 2 copper. Hope I didn't offend anyone.

Cheers.

Edit: Realizing I've probably rambled way off topic but I've posted and I'll leave it to the mods to decide. Here's some thoughts on HOW to discuss these things:

I think the overall way is to bring it up tactfully. Show instead of tell comes to mind. Maybe include a well-written example based on a historical character. Take a picture of a racially diverse group of adventurers, draw it ourselves if we need to to make it appealing. This could apply to the sexuality pictures as well. and on the note of pictures...

Avoid pinups: By this I mean, if it looks like it's there just to be sexual and nothing but, don't post it. Yes, we all know that Red Sonja's CMB is cheesecake, but most of the pictures I've seen of her are in combat or victory over a field of blood. For that matter Red Sonja is an iconic character. We know who she is and why she can get away with what she does, whether we approve or not. She has a story and a whole setting to reinforce her. By contrast, the pictures of nameless people just posing seductively  with exagerated *ahem* parts are deffinitely pinup material. There's a key difference in the presentation there that is going to set off alarm bells. One has several possible things to infer, the other is strictly lust. And if one has to do lust, a pinup is not the way to go. Try finding art that tells a story instead, like two drunken pirates supporting each other out of a bar and having a good time while hanging off of each other. Two barbarian rogues arm-wrestling and giving each other knowing looks while the crowd looks on and wagers, not realising they are being hoodwinked by a pair of lovers. This kind of thing is far better than a pinup with exagerated package(s). Far more subtle too, which means it's safe for the kids and that's important. On a side note to this, use actual D&D artwork as the starting point.

Anyhoo, there's my extra 2 copper for now.
it is impossible for D&D not to address these social realities. It is impossible for D&D not to address gender or race or sexuality or socioeconomic class or ability,



Apparently this is subjective, as I can't recall EVER addressing any of that in a D&D game.  I don't think a game where you're trying to get together and have fun with folks is a good place for anybody to be promoting a platform, even if it's a platform I agree with.



Some peopel would say that just means the issues are backgrounded.  One of my best friends (who I met through playing D&D) is LGBQT, and let me just say this: when enough people don't put in an active effort to include something, the result feels like active exclusion.  And that can be a problem.  If, for example, the books stick with only portraying "traditional" relationships among NPCs (even if it's just to play it safe), the result feels heteronormative.  See, that's the problem - trying to stay on "neutral" ground is staying on conservative ground while not actively saying anything either way.  It's frustrating that it works this way, but it seems like there is no middle ground - to someone who cares about the issue, standing apart and standing against are barely any different.  I know I've gotten on this discussion before on the boards, and I'll just end saying one thing - the extremists on both sides are going to be more aware of D&D standing against them than standing with them, but only one side is also known for calling D&D satanic.  If you must choose, choose wisely.
it is impossible for D&D not to address these social realities. It is impossible for D&D not to address gender or race or sexuality or socioeconomic class or ability,



Apparently this is subjective, as I can't recall EVER addressing any of that in a D&D game.  I don't think a game where you're trying to get together and have fun with folks is a good place for anybody to be promoting a platform, even if it's a platform I agree with.



Some peopel would say that just means the issues are backgrounded.  One of my best friends (who I met through playing D&D) is LGBQT, and let me just say this: when enough people don't put in an active effort to include something, the result feels like active exclusion.  And that can be a problem.  If, for example, the books stick with only portraying "traditional" relationships among NPCs (even if it's just to play it safe), the result feels heteronormative.  See, that's the problem - trying to stay on "neutral" ground is staying on conservative ground while not actively saying anything either way.  It's frustrating that it works this way, but it seems like there is no middle ground - to someone who cares about the issue, standing apart and standing against are barely any different.  I know I've gotten on this discussion before on the boards, and I'll just end saying one thing - the extremists on both sides are going to be more aware of D&D standing against them than standing with them, but only one side is also known for calling D&D satanic.  If you must choose, choose wisely.



Really?

Dont get me wrong im all for inclusion, but neutral is a valid political stand. Most of the time politics use ideologies to gain adepts for the support of their own personal interests. I dont accept the binary logic fallacy presented on those discourses.

If you look at 3rd edition artwork there´s nothing there that says if any of the iconic character's arent gay. Maybe Eberk,  Kerwyn, Lidda, Devis, Gimble, Jozan, Mialee, Nebin, Hennet, Soveliss, Ember, Regdar,  Vadania, Tordek and even Krusk are all gay. There´s nothing to support this assumption but neither anything to support the opossite (I´m talking about the corebook's artwork, maybe the novels in which many of those characters were portrayed contradict this assumption of neutrality).

The monster issue nonetheless is a tricky one as its a setting issue. Eberron breaks with many assumptions about monsters (Orcs are also wise, Red Dragons can be good, Drow are no longer an evil race and even clerics of a good god can be evil), and I think here lies a good example of an inclusive setting one that provides you with enough neutral ground to model it the way you like. It even provides you with a Nation that gave the middle finger to the inheritors of the empire call to arms during last war (Q´barra).  

How much of the classic portrayal of Drows as an evil race is presented on the monster vault? I think it could be even more neutral, but IMO you can still consider this race of "assassins and raiders" to be fighthing for the "good" of the surface world.

IMO, Like any other mature content its an issue for the game table not the books.


Seroth makes some very good points.

I also agree that I don't like the idea that taking a neutral stance should be viewed as the equivalent of being against something. That just seems to come down to the old philosophy of "If you're not with us, you're against us." and that's just a way to make enemies and get this thread shut down for that matter. The world is full of greys, let's not make this issue black and white.

As Seroth points out, not addressing the issue can leave it open to interpretation and that is its own good thing in some ways. When multiple interpretations can be drawn, we also have the possibility of more varied and interesting storylines.
If the neutral stance is 'as presented today' and people are saying that 'as presented today' is 'not presented in a way that's inclusive', supporting the neutral stance is supporting exclusion.

Look, we all know that nobody said Lidda wasn't gay and that any one of us could say she was.  What we're saying is that some characters should be presented as gay.  That's what inclusion is.  And I fail to see any harm in it whatsoever.
Resident Prophet of the OTTer.

Section Six Soldier

Front Door of the House of Trolls

[b]If you're terribly afraid of your character dying, it may be best if you roleplayed something other than an adventurer.[/b]

If the neutral stance is 'as presented today' and people are saying that 'as presented today' is 'not presented in a way that's inclusive', supporting the neutral stance is supporting exclusion.

Look, we all know that nobody said Lidda wasn't gay and that any one of us could say she was.  What we're saying is that some characters should be presented as gay.  That's what inclusion is.  And I fail to see any harm in it whatsoever.





IMO Neutrality can be inclusive as it allows you to envision these characters with the sexual preference you want.

If you think Lidda isn’t gay enough how would you "present" Lidda as gay? By turning her into a stereotype? By naming her Lidda the lesbian halfling rogue? By showing her making some public displays of affection? What in the current portrayal of Lidda makes her less gay?

Here we found a tricky issue

Nonetheless I do understand what you mean if we start talking about the fluff in which this neutrality is compromised.

I think this leads to another question which is how socio-politically detailed you want the fluff of the basic setting (if there’s any) of the game to be?  as to include the sexual preferences/practices of their major NPCs? 

IMO unless it’s an important aspect of the NPC (one that gives seeds for adventures) this entry should be handled by the DM not the setting. For example: “Baron Achilles, a Death Knight that is in war with the Raven Queen for the soul of his deceased champion and lover Patroclus, rules over the land of Troy.”



 
@ those who consider neutral to be supporting exclusion:

I think that's loading arguments into people that they don't mean. One can support open ended neutrality without supporting exclusion. Afterall, in a truly neutral setting, one does not require inclusion or exclusion as those can be left up to the individual reader/viewer. Trying to say that that supports exclusion is just unjustly painting those who are neutral as bad people.

It's not an all or nothing process. Nor should it ever be, as that would indeed be turning D&D into a political platform. And this is not just for homosexuality but for everything.

Consider the difference between:

The Duke of Alsas routinely meets with his lover in secret every Friday night at the Silkglen park.

vs

The Duke of Alsas routinely meets with his gay lover, John the blacksmith, in secret every Friday night at the Silkglen park.

In the first example it is open ended. The lover could be male or female. It could even be very non-human (ie: a Warforged, Gnoll, Shardmind, Primordial/Deity, etc...) and thereby also be neither male nor female. (Absolute love as opposed to love through lust or sexual desire also becomes very real if it is neither male nor female.)

In the second one we know it is a homosexual male, from the name it is probably human. That's pretty darn exclusive. We've certainly eliminated things that don't have a specific gender/sex (Warforged, Shardminds, etc...) from the pool of posibilities.

And this is where the neutral stance is better. It removes exclusion entirely. It's open to all interpretations. All possible interpretations.

So no, I can't agree that the neutral stance supports exclusion. I find it to be entirely the opposite. It supports the widest variety of inclusion possible.
They already do. Any time that they assign gender to a sample NPC or include artwork depicting a character with a distinct gender, they have included gender issues in the game. Any time that they assign racial characteristics to a sample NPC or or include artwork depicting a character with recognizable and familiar race, they have included racial issues in the game. Any time that they assign sexuality to a sample NPC, discuss thematic elements based on romance or sexuality, include artwork of a couple (such as a King and Queen), or include artwork designed to play to sexuality, they have included sexuality issues in the game.



So any time they depict people as anything other than featureless, monochromatic neuters they are "including issues"?

There is no "as opposed to". The responsibility lies with both WotC and the players. It's WotC that has the opportunity to set the example, though.



This still doesn't answer the question of "why". How is this a responsiblity in the first place? WOTC's responsibility is to deliver a functioning product to a paying public.

No, but we do encounter a problem when we depict people with cancer as undesirable. Having cancer does not make a person bad, but we still place this stigma on the people themselves. Having cancer does not make a person bad, but we still place this stigma on the people themselves.



That never happened in D&D. I'm pretty sure it's never happened in real life. I have never heard of, read about, witnessed, or engaged in the stigmatization of cancer patients.

What's the point that you think that you're making here? No, we don't have to play anything the way that it's presented by default in D&D, but that doesn't mean that the default presentation does matter. The default presentation will be the one that everybody knows in common, and so it will be the one with the most weight to reflect on the game as a whole.



My point is just play the game however you want to play it and don't worry about it. Or write your own diversity-friendly supplement, or even your own diversity-friendly game (woot woot free market).

And so what if the default presentation doesn't include homosexuality? WOTC has nothing to gain and everything to lose by doing that. Their job is to make money, they're owned by Hasbro, a publicly traded corporation. Appeasing a minority population at the expense of alienating the majority is not good business.

A lack of diversity has never been a factor in a product not selling. If the 3e core books had been released full of nothing but white males, I have a hard time believing that it would have effected sales of the material. There's nothing stopping players from incorporating their own material or including 3rd party material. Book of Erotic Fantasy exists specifically for what you're talking about. That's the free market in action, WOTC doesn't deliver to a niche market, somebody else does. Everyone goes home happy.
1. D&D is a game, and games are not a fitting place to address such serious and controversial issues.



I had no idea 'black', 'asian' or gay were 'serious and controversial issues'.  I'm not asking WotC to demand all players recognize women's equality or gay rights.  I'm asking that they show us they're there.

2. The culture of "inclusivism" will alienate large groups of players, doing harm to the stated purposes of D&D Next.



How?  How does saying there's black people or gays in the game world alienate players?

3. The inclusivism will never include everyone. On the issue of race and culture, you will always leave someone out- think of all the thousands of ethnic groups in the world both in the present and past- they can't all be in there, and if one is left out, then D&D Next will not be truly racially inclusive. On the issue of sexuality, different groups approve of different types of sexuality- can we give them all representation? should we?



Cute.  Gay people aren't some abomination.  They're people like you and me.  Including them, therefore, is no different than including someone like you or me.

For all these reasons, D&D Next should be kept a game, not a tool for the culture of "inclusivism" Sealed.



I have to ask, but did you read my first post in this thread?  It's not about making D&D a tool for anything.  Including types of folk that are very real and play the game isn't fostering some radical agenda.  It's including people.  Period.

I mean, unless you think the mere existence of openly gay people is somehow pushing an agenda.

I leave with some food for thought to drive home my point. If this does not work, then change the word used until you find it offensive:

"Look, we all know that nobody said Lidda wasn't **** and that any one of us could say she was.  That's what inclusion is.  And I fail to see any harm in it whatsoever."



I really have no response to that that I'd be permitted to write.  I do, however, want to thank you.  You see, you're doing a hell of a job illustrating the need we have for discussions like this one.

IMO Neutrality can be inclusive as it allows you to envision these characters with the sexual preference you want.



And that's totally true.  It only breaks down when you think about the default.  What, then, is the default?  Heterosexuality.  So, if a gay relationship is never detailed, it's most often not there at all.  And that's bad.

If you think Lidda isn’t gay enough how would you "present" Lidda as gay? By turning her into a stereotype? By naming her Lidda the lesbian halfling rogue? By showing her making some public displays of affection? What in the current portrayal of Lidda makes her less gay?

Here we found a tricky issue



Not tricky at all: When Lidda isn't off on some adventure, she can usually be found roaming the city gardens with her significant other Amanda.

Wow.  That was pretty easy.  And I don't even get paid to write! 

What makes her less gay, you ask?  The default assumption that people are heterosexual.

Nonetheless I do understand what you mean if we start talking about the fluff in which this neutrality is compromised.

I think this leads to another question which is how socio-politically detailed you want the fluff of the basic setting (if there’s any) of the game to be?  as to include the sexual preferences/practices of their major NPCs? 

IMO unless it’s an important aspect of the NPC (one that gives seeds for adventures) this entry should be handled by the DM not the setting. For example: “Baron Achilles, a Death Knight that is in war with the Raven Queen for the soul of his deceased champion and lover Patroclus, rules over the land of Troy.” 



As I think I did a pretty good job demonstrating above, you don't need to go into graphic detail to include gay folks.  Simply drop the name of a same sex partner.  Done.  No need to go into the bedroom, no need to go into great detail.  Short and simple.  And that's all I'm asking for.

I think that's loading arguments into people that they don't mean. One can support open ended neutrality without supporting exclusion. Afterall, in a truly neutral setting, one does not require inclusion or exclusion as those can be left up to the individual reader/viewer. Trying to say that that supports exclusion is just unjustly painting those who are neutral as bad people.



As explained above, this all makes sense if we choose to ignore the fact that there's a default and that that default, by its nature, excludes people.  That people don't do it on purpose doesn't make it ok.  That they don't even know they're doing it arguably makes it worse.

It's not an all or nothing process. Nor should it ever be, as that would indeed be turning D&D into a political platform. And this is not just for homosexuality but for everything.

Consider the difference between:

The Duke of Alsas routinely meets with his lover in secret every Friday night at the Silkglen park.

vs

The Duke of Alsas routinely meets with his gay lover, John the blacksmith, in secret every Friday night at the Silkglen park.

In the first example it is open ended. The lover could be male or female. It could even be very non-human (ie: a Warforged, Gnoll, Shardmind, Primordial/Deity, etc...) and thereby also be neither male nor female. (Absolute love as opposed to love through lust or sexual desire also becomes very real if it is neither male nor female.)

In the second one we know it is a homosexual male, from the name it is probably human. That's pretty darn exclusive. We've certainly eliminated things that don't have a specific gender/sex (Warforged, Shardminds, etc...) from the pool of posibilities.

And this is where the neutral stance is better. It removes exclusion entirely. It's open to all interpretations. All possible interpretations.

So no, I can't agree that the neutral stance supports exclusion. I find it to be entirely the opposite. It supports the widest variety of inclusion possible.



Except, as I've mentioned multiple times, there's a default.  When you read 'The Duke of Alsas routinely meets with his lover', what sort of person do you envision said lover to be?  Most assume a woman.  To some people, that's a pretty big deal.  If all they're asking for is every once in a while have a line that reads 'The Duke of Alsas routinely meets with his lover Darrin', why deny them that small recognition?
Resident Prophet of the OTTer.

Section Six Soldier

Front Door of the House of Trolls

[b]If you're terribly afraid of your character dying, it may be best if you roleplayed something other than an adventurer.[/b]

If the neutral stance is 'as presented today' and people are saying that 'as presented today' is 'not presented in a way that's inclusive', supporting the neutral stance is supporting exclusion.



No it's not. One could reverse your argument and say that by not including homosexuality as a filthy demonic perversion to be purged by holy fire, WOTC is endorsing homosexuality. Of course that is ridiculous to say, because it is not true. You can't equate passive indifference with open hostility, you can't equate passive indifference with open-armed endoresement and support. They just don't include it and it's not an issue either way for anyone.

What we're saying is that some characters should be presented as gay.  That's what inclusion is.  And I fail to see any harm in it whatsoever.



The problem is that it would hurt WOTC's, and therefore Hasbro's, bottom line. People are already up in arms over the "gay conspiracy to gay marry our children in gay sex ed classes" and all that nonsense, inserting homosexual material into a game intended to be played by children is just adding fuel to the fire and would only generate negative publicity.
No it's not. One could reverse your argument and say that by not including homosexuality as a filthy demonic perversion to be purged by holy fire, WOTC is endorsing homosexuality. Of course that is ridiculous to say, because it is not true. You can't equate passive indifference with open hostility, you can't equate passive indifference with open-armed endoresement and support. They just don't include it and it's not an issue either way for anyone.



Except for the people they didn't include.  See also: my explanation of the default.

The problem is that it would hurt WOTC's, and therefore Hasbro's, bottom line. People are already up in arms over the "gay conspiracy to gay marry our children in gay sex ed classes" and all that nonsense, inserting homosexual material into a game intended to be played by children is just adding fuel to the fire and would only generate negative publicity.



So WotC makes a game that's played mostly by homophobes and, therefore, they should continue to cater to these homophobes.  Umm ... no.  I don't buy it and, if this were WotC's reason not to include gay NPCs, I won't buy 5e.  Cuz that's pretty much the definition of wrong.
Resident Prophet of the OTTer.

Section Six Soldier

Front Door of the House of Trolls

[b]If you're terribly afraid of your character dying, it may be best if you roleplayed something other than an adventurer.[/b]


The problem is that it would hurt WOTC's, and therefore Hasbro's, bottom line. People are already up in arms over the "gay conspiracy to gay marry our children in gay sex ed classes" and all that nonsense, inserting homosexual material into a game intended to be played by children is just adding fuel to the fire and would only generate negative publicity.



This kind of reasoning is a decision though.  It's a choice of approach.  It's a passive approach, but it's still taking a stance on the issue.  The basic reasoning is "I might not like the status quo, but I am unwilling to bear a personal cost to challenge it.  Gay people are used to be excluded and lots of other people are guilty of doing worse than being exclusionary, so I probably won't bear any cost for continuing to passively exclude them."  I suppose in the long wrong no one is going to get too angry at anyone who takes this stance, but it's not a very laudable stance.

Note, I sorta doubt that this is exactly what WOTC is thinking.  I also doubt that WOTC is still on the moral police radar the way that it was in the 80s.  To the extent that WOTC faces any challenge in changing how it deals with race and sex, I think those challenges exist within its existing player base, not outside it.

So now you equate gay people with pedophiles and rapists.  Cute.  Gay people aren't some abomination.  They're people like you and me.  Including them, therefore, is no different than including someone like you or me.



I'm LGBT and I can see the point he is trying to make without getting offended.

The poster is saying that it's all subjective. You accept and see LGBT people as "just like you or me" because of social engineering. The same way the Ancient Greeks saw people attracted to 10 year olds as "just like you or me", that's just the way their society works.

You cannot be inclusive to all people/ethnic groups/beliefs/etc because in the real world there is such a thing as "mutually exclusive beliefs and practices" that the social engineering being preached in the west for the last 30 years tries to pretend doesn't exists to avoid offending people, I'm one of the people they are trying not to offend and even I can see through it all. You can't include everyone so you should try, pick some things, do them well and for craps sake have some artistic integrity, it's impossible to make everyone happy.
If the neutral stance is 'as presented today' and people are saying that 'as presented today' is 'not presented in a way that's inclusive', supporting the neutral stance is supporting exclusion.

Look, we all know that nobody said Lidda wasn't gay and that any one of us could say she was.  What we're saying is that some characters should be presented as gay.  That's what inclusion is.  And I fail to see any harm in it whatsoever.



So... what you are saying is... you demand lesbian halfling kissing be prominently displayed across the core rulebook of the game.
...

It is very difficult to draw any other conclusion. The preference for any sexuality can only be displayed when sexual acts are displayed. If sexual acts are not part of the included art work, then how exactly would sexuality be displayed at all?

You need your elfs running around in rhine-stone embedded leather armor with assless chaps and a pink sword using the warcry "FABULOUUUUSS!!"
or you need half the "females" displayed to clearly have giant bulges leaping out from their crotches.

Look, you can do whatever you want on your little deviant art page, but it doesn't need to be in the main rulebooks. The harm it would do to sales is just not worth soothing the out-of-control egos of you and many other posters on this thread.

And it may seem like I am setting up a strawman, but let me display this point in another way.

So you have a bunch of fictional characters of both genders. None are shown flirting, kissing, screwing, etc. They are shown in relatively appropriate, if semi-fashionable, clothing for carrying out their roles as mercenaries and treasure hunters. All interaction between them is of a nonsexual nature. The correct conclusion to draw from this that they are asexual.

But for a person with a victim complex, that cannot be the conclusion they would draw because they MUST see discrimination against them everywhere. So instead the conclusion such a person draws is that EVERYONE is heterosexual and the game designers all hate gay people and have banned them from the world. And if this is not true then they MUST  PROVE it otherwise.

And to prove it you must have these previously asexual fictional characters engage in sexual actions OR go way, WAY out of their way to unmistakably live out the stereotypes associated with that sexual orientation. Of course, flamboyantly displaying the stereotypes loudly enough to get through the dense wall around the head of someone with a victim complex also creates a whole other problem because then the problem becomes the artist stereotyping and "claiming all gay people are.."

Because, again, the person with the victim complex must see themselves being attacked from every angle. It would be impossible for such a person to realize that the stereotype is necessary because there is other flashing light big enough for this person to see the signs that the fictional character was designed to be gay. They just cannot accept that most gay people just don't publicly act out enough that even if embodied directly in one of those fictional characters they would have been labeled by this person as "heterosexual" and would be pointed to as evidence that homosexuals were being excluded from the game.

Which then gets to the heart of the issue. Anyone who is complaining that diverse sexualities are being excluded is ACTUALLY upset that sex is not the primary focus of the game about crawling through dungeons and fighting dragons. This person NEEDS sex, sex, sex-- every page, every fetish, every kinky mismatch and variety. To them they would never be happy until the art across all of the core books looked like the LGBTNAXVILAPJGTAMC kama sutra. Because until that happens, the person will still feel excluded-- because if it isn't being prominently in-your-face displayed at screechingly loud levels, it is being actively excluded.

The truth of the matter is that quite a lot has already been done to try not to offend such people by directly acknowleding the existence of heterosexuality beyond that adventurers might *GASP!!* have parents!! Yes, I know... I know... its terrible for you to think of mixed gendered couples creating children. Please calm down. Fictional characters barely touch, the genders of couplings are often kept vague, and for the most part NPCs in any official products are drained of all character and flavor that might accidentally offend anyone.

If you are a DM who is absolutely gungho about creating a world where the two genders never touch, you are pretty much free to do so and there is nothing mechanically or flavor-wise stopping you. In no way are you being discriminated against, attacked, blocked or excluded. Its all in your head. Of course, I know that's not true in all aspects of your life-- I'm just saying that WotC is not infringing on you in any way and you need to go ahead and focus the energy you are wasting on this fight to take it up where there is a serious discrimination against you. 

1. D&D is a game, and games are not a fitting place to address such serious and controversial issues.



I had no idea 'black', 'asian' or gay were 'serious and controversial issues'.  I'm not asking WotC to demand all players recognize women's equality or gay rights.  I'm asking that they show us they're there.

2. The culture of "inclusivism" will alienate large groups of players, doing harm to the stated purposes of D&D Next.



How?  How does saying there's black people or gays in the game world alienate players?



Race is not controversial any more. Sexuality still is.

I mean, unless you think the mere existence of openly gay people is somehow pushing an agenda.



Well there's clearly an agenda to put gay people into D&D, as evidenced by this thread's very existence...

And that's totally true.  It only breaks down when you think about the default.  What, then, is the default?  Heterosexuality.  So, if a gay relationship is never detailed, it's most often not there at all.  And that's bad.



How is that bad? How does the overall quality of the game suffer from a lack of inclusion?

What makes her less gay, you ask?  The default assumption that people are heterosexual.



So she's only straight in people's imaginations. This doesn't help your case, and seems to reinforce the other guy's. If you want to default everyone to being gay until the published material says otherwise, then do that. She's as gay or straight as you want or need her to be.

As I think I did a pretty good job demonstrating above, you don't need to go into graphic detail to include gay folks.  Simply drop the name of a same sex partner.  Done.  No need to go into the bedroom, no need to go into great detail.  Short and simple.  And that's all I'm asking for.



If what you're asking for is so minor and miniscule why is it so important to you?

As explained above, this all makes sense if we choose to ignore the fact that there's a default and that that default, by its nature, excludes people.  That people don't do it on purpose doesn't make it ok.  That they don't even know they're doing it arguably makes it worse.



You seem to be arguing from the perspective that anyone who doesn't agree with you totally and completely is horrible no matter what. Don't want to take a stance? You're enabling exclusion and that's terrible! Not doing it on purpose? You're a lazy uncaring unconscious monster! It will hurt your bottom line? Money grubbing greedy materialist!

To some people, that's a pretty big deal.



Anyone who considers it a "big deal" that there's no gay characters in a fantasy publication needs to get their priorities in order. A big deal is when your house burns down. A big deal is when your child is in a coma. Reading about how the Duke of Alsas beds his handmaiden instead of his stableboy is not a big deal.

why deny them that small recognition?



To avoid public controversy and bad press. I can understand wanting this kind of content to exist, but I can not understand how the people asking for it do not themselves understand how it would be bad for business. You know it's a touchy topic, you know you're in the minority. I understand the need to open up the dialogue but you people need to be choosier about when and where you pick your battles if you want your point to get across. A popular game played by children and published by one of the largest toy companies in the country is not a wise or appropriate choice.
Except for the people they didn't include.  See also: my explanation of the default.



Ok let's include the bigotted perspective as well. Let's throw them in as equals. Let's be more inclusive of racism and sexism and homophobia. Because if gays exist, then surely so do people who hate them. Or would that be too "offensive" and "controversial"?

So WotC makes a game that's played mostly by homophobes and, therefore, they should continue to cater to these homophobes.  Umm ... no.  I don't buy it and, if this were WotC's reason not to include gay NPCs, I won't buy 5e.  Cuz that's pretty much the definition of wrong.



They should continue to do whatever makes money. What do you want them to do, provoke a boycott and bankrupt themselves all in the name of social justice?

And if you don't want to buy it that's fine. If they lose your business because of it there's thousands more whose business they won't lose if they don't include gay content. Go on and make your own gay-friendly RPG and make millions of dollars if you can.

How is that bad? How does the overall quality of the game suffer from a lack of inclusion?



Interesting!  Let's try a thought experiment.  So say you're a white dude, and the next edition of Dungeons and Dragons featured no white men in its art or cultural assumptions.  90% of the people portrayed in the art were women, none of them posed to look provocative, seductive, or the least bit sexy to men.  Almost all of them appear to be of african or asian lineage.  The men who do exist are clearly intended to appeal to gay men.

Do you suppose that this imaginary version of D&D would be universally well-received by the D&D audience?  Why or why not? 
Not tricky at all: When Lidda isn't off on some adventure, she can usually be found roaming the city gardens with her significant other Amanda.

At what point did anyone mention "When Ember isn't off on some adventure, she can usually be found roaming the city gardens with her significant other Fred."?

There's a difference between "exclusion" and "lack of a default".
Really, this is all going to end with an illustration of a bard in a wheelchair rolling through some-odd dungeon brawl, all in the name of "inclusion".
So... what you are saying is... you demand lesbian halfling kissing be prominently displayed across the core rulebook of the game.



Note to all who choose to respond to me: This is the last time I will take time to respond to a post that clearly demonstrates the person trying to speak to me has not read anything I've posted in this thread.  Thank you.

Movin' on ... how do you even get that?  My very first post in this thread says what I want.  In another post not that far above this one, I explain how WotC could easily incorporate gay NPCs without even getting close to the bedroom.  I suggest you read over my posts again.
Resident Prophet of the OTTer.

Section Six Soldier

Front Door of the House of Trolls

[b]If you're terribly afraid of your character dying, it may be best if you roleplayed something other than an adventurer.[/b]

At one point in my campaign I had 3 players, all male, 2 homosexual, 1 heterosexual, one of the homosexual player's character's was a male homosexual drow psion with an incubus lover NPC (ran by me, the DM), the other two's sexuality never entered or was addressed in the campaign.
Race is not controversial any more. Sexuality still is.



So inclusion of non-hetero NPCs is a problem?

Well there's clearly an agenda to put gay people into D&D, as evidenced by this thread's very existence...



*sigh*

I suppose asking for equal representation is my agenda, yes.  Equal representation in the game world, however, doesn't force any agenda at all.  See, there really are gay people in the world.  Including them in D&D is about as agenda driven as including women.

How is that bad? How does the overall quality of the game suffer from a lack of inclusion?



When people play a game and see nothing that they can identify with, it suggests they were never considered.  Aside from that, adding things to the game that we understand is good.  More relatable content.

So she's only straight in people's imaginations. This doesn't help your case, and seems to reinforce the other guy's. If you want to default everyone to being gay until the published material says otherwise, then do that. She's as gay or straight as you want or need her to be.



Nope.  If I were a gay player and my DM was straight, odds are every NPC is, too.  And that leaves me out.

If what you're asking for is so minor and miniscule why is it so important to you?



I think the more important question is, if it's so minor and miniscule, why is it so important to you to deny it to me?   

You seem to be arguing from the perspective that anyone who doesn't agree with you totally and completely is horrible no matter what. Don't want to take a stance? You're enabling exclusion and that's terrible! Not doing it on purpose? You're a lazy uncaring unconscious monster! It will hurt your bottom line? Money grubbing greedy materialist!



Wrong.  I made a statement - not a judgement on any specific member.  I did say how I'd feel about WotC if they decided to cater to homophobes, though.  And I'm ok with that.

Anyone who considers it a "big deal" that there's no gay characters in a fantasy publication needs to get their priorities in order. A big deal is when your house burns down. A big deal is when your child is in a coma. Reading about how the Duke of Alsas beds his handmaiden instead of his stableboy is not a big deal.



*sigh*

A big deal from the perspective of our argument.  We're talking about the next version of D&D, not house fires.

And, if it's not a big deal to you ...

To avoid public controversy and bad press. I can understand wanting this kind of content to exist, but I can not understand how the people asking for it do not themselves understand how it would be bad for business. You know it's a touchy topic, you know you're in the minority. I understand the need to open up the dialogue but you people need to be choosier about when and where you pick your battles if you want your point to get across. A popular game played by children and published by one of the largest toy companies in the country is not a wise or appropriate choice.



Huh?  What does 'played by children' have to do with this.  I'm curious. 

Also, are you saying that legions of fans would quit the game and refuse to buy the new edition if gay NPCs were in it?  Would you?  Why?

I take offense that you said I'm saying a lot of bad things about the people I'm arguing with when you, here, are saying bad things about the alleged majority of D&D fans.
Resident Prophet of the OTTer.

Section Six Soldier

Front Door of the House of Trolls

[b]If you're terribly afraid of your character dying, it may be best if you roleplayed something other than an adventurer.[/b]