[JBE] LGBT in Shadowsfall


Product Discussion

Jon Brazer Enterprises

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I posted this on facebook this morning and I'm cross posting this here:

Last night while going through the edits of the Pathfinder Shadowsfall: Shadow Plane Player's Companion, I decided to change a vague reference to gay couples adopting kids of those that died by zombie attacks to outright stating that to be the case. LGBT couples should be allow to marry and adopt children. I might not be able to change so in this world, but I can make it so in my campaign setting.


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I'm hetero. I fully approve. I'm tired of the stigmas associated with bi/trans/pan-sexuality and homosexuality (and also "evil" BDSM for that matter).

Thank you for this decision, Dale.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

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Seconding tiresomeness of "evil BDSM" characters and themes.

Though I did not otherwise enjoy the 3.5-era Book of Erotic Fantasy (it handled the subject matter expertly and tastefully, but it was a mess, mechanically speaking), that book did actually include what has been the sole and single reference - in my experience - to the positive portrayal of BDSM lifestyles in fantasy gaming.

Leave it to the gnomes. Basically, the gnomes love crazy and elaborate "toys" and bindings and racks and things. The book actually described a positive and exploratory sexual tradition that included role experimentation and bondage. Furthermore, the gnomes had fun with it. It wasn't all dungeons-and-barbed-whips-and-teary-eyed-submissives. That is not to say that the BDSM lifestyle does not or cannot include some pretty heavy and powerful themes - but it is exceedingly rare that we are made to see or hear about healthy, happy dominant-submissive relationships in the media. Funnily enough, there's a tumblr out there called "Happy BDSM" that is basically a collection of BDSM images that feature smiling people enjoying themselves. Gasp!

It's not just fantasy gaming that gives BDSM the "dark" reputation that it seems to have, of course. Not to derail the thread, but don't even get me started on Fifty Shades of Grey. A BDSM novel in which there is no mention of the concept safewords? No joke - that is just a seriously and gravely irresponsible depiction.

Daron Woodson
Abandoned Arts


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Yeah, Shades of Grey is such a damn sore topic for me: A bunch of people read it and HAVE NO CONCEPT of how to practice it safely. No grasp of SSC (Sane-Safe-Consensual) whatsoever. A drow matron whipping unwilling males (or a sadistic despot tormenting virgins) has NOTHING to do with BDSM, though that's just about the only kind of representation I can think about. Another example: Zon-Kuthonites? All sick Dark Tapestry-weirdos. I really like Zon-Kuthon, but it just jars me to see how uniformly evil the representation in roleplaying games is.

And it's so sad, because the powerful themes central to the practice of BDSM can just as well work towards creating something truly beautiful in character interaction, a purity of interaction and trust that goes beyond what humans usually extend to another.

But to not derail this any further: My friend Paco of GMS magazine recently wrote an article about Homosexuality in games that is worth reading.

Dark Archive

Abandoned Arts wrote:

Not to derail the thread, but don't even get me started on Fifty Shades of Grey. A BDSM novel in which there is no mention of the concept safewords? No joke - that is just a seriously and gravely irresponsible depiction.

Wait. Really? Talk about major error. That's like not using a d20 in D&D or Pathfinder. Safewords are essential. What was the author's reasoning for that?

Jon Brazer Enterprises

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Endzeitgeist wrote:
(and also "evil" BDSM for that matter).

While there is only so much I can do with kytons being shadow plane S&M devils, I believe you will like my take on it.

From the deities section discussing the archkyton deity: "Those of his followers who are more neutral than evil emphasize the virtues of willful submission over that of forced servitude."

Endzeitgeist wrote:
Thank you for this decision, Dale.

:) You're welcome. Glad you like it.


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I'm starting to look forward to Shadowsfall even more. :)

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

joela wrote:
Wait. Really? Talk about major error. That's like not using a d20 in D&D or Pathfinder. Safewords are essential. What was the author's reasoning for that?

The author's "reasoning" is that the novel began life as a Twilight fan-fiction with the serial numbers filed off. The author has no apparent grasp on what a healthy BDSM dominant-submissive relationship looks like. Unfortunately, the titular character (Mr. Grey) is depicted as being both mysterious and heroic. In actuality, what Mr. Grey inflicts on the heroine only amounts to a positive experience for her because the author has scripted each experience that way. Mr. Grey is not a wise and worldly mentor, he is a grossly irresponsible one with little regard for his submissive's peace of mind. There are no mentions of safewords or even consent, and little to no discussion concerning safety or boundaries or comfort zones takes place between the dominant and the submissive before (or after) any given activity.

Because the heroine is authored by happenstance and convenience to take pleasure from every activity Mr. Grey orchestrates for her, we are meant to regard the character as a positive sexual mentor.

Fifty Shades of Grey is a seriously damaging book for anyone being exposed to the concept of BDSM for the first time. A woman or a submissive of any role or gender may take away from the book that he or she is simply meant to take pleasure in everything that their mentor or master inflicts upon them, and may blame themselves or determine that something is "wrong" with them if they do not simply and conveniently enjoy or become excited any given activity performed upon them with or without their consent or discussion. The novel basically undermines in wholesale the idea that a submissive has a part or a say as a participating partner in establishing boundaries or rules, or in having any control (even in the form of something so basic as a safeword).

Daron Woodson
Abandoned Arts

Dark Archive

Cool about the inclusion.

As for 50 Shades of Grey, I keep hearing about how good it was, I read a bit and thought it was a horrible book. A book or series of books that touches on the topic and does a much much better job of it is the Ghost series by John Ringo. It is not the main focus of the books but it shows up along with some disturbing stuff but it is handled well.

Paizo Employee Senior Software Developer

A quick note to say that if you want to talk about 50 Shades of Grey, please do so in the books forum.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

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Well done, Dale. That's a good and important thing you've done.


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Bravo, sir. Bravo. I'm looking forward to this book even more now.


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Working on this supplement and knowing that this would be included brought me much joy. I was blessed with not just two, but four great parents growing up, two of whom were gay men. I can promise you that any JBE product I work on in my capacity as an editor that addresses this issue will do so respectfully with regard to the subject matter. We deliberated at length internally on how best to handle this theme in the material without making it feel forced or trite.


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(All that having been said, I am quite fond of the sadomasochistic kytons and how they interact with the world Dale has created. They are creeptastic!)

Scarab Sages

I'm all for equal rights.

I'm all for gay marriage and adoption and whatall

but bdsm gnomes?

I've gamed too long.

Silver Crusade

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Agreeing/approving the first four posts and many of those that followed. Good on you Dale McCoy Jr. :)

And if someone does take up Gary Teter's advice on moving a certain topic to a new thread, I'll be posting the most beautiful link in it.

For those absolutely starved for positive protrayals of certain subcultures in RPG Land, /tg/ produced a LG deity with that theme some time back. Also, if one rolls with the concept of risen fiends, I'd wager that the fiend-type with the most numerous converts to Shelyn's faith would be kytons.

Contributor

Very cool for making a vague reference something overt. It's really cool to see equal time given on such things in fantasy works, presuming that it makes sense within the context of whatever fantasy society being talked about. :)

Abandoned Arts wrote:

Not to derail the thread, but don't even get me started on Fifty Shades of Grey. A BDSM novel in which there is no mention of the concept safewords? No joke - that is just a seriously and gravely irresponsible depiction.

This is all that needs to be said about that poorly, poorly written novel NSFW but funny as hell link

Edit: Whoops, didn't see Gary's post.

Dark Archive

Bomanz wrote:

I'm all for equal rights.

I'm all for gay marriage and adoption and whatall

but bdsm gnomes?

I've gamed too long.

Everyone knows gnomes are into some really kinky stuff. :)

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I approve of this message. I also use some of your Shadowsfall Concept in my Kingmaker game. You're rapidly becoming my favourite 3pp.


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You just hit two of my hot-button win-switches - congrats, I'll be buying this release day (well, PDF release day...no bookshelf space ;_;).

Jon Brazer Enterprises

Thank you everyone. I am really glad for the warm response to this. I'll be honest in that I was sweating it a bit (not knowing if I'd customers afterwards). But it was the right thing to do. I stand by my conviction and my gay friends.

And just a short FYI, Power Word Unzip is the editor on this project. He has been doing a really AWESOME job on this.


You changed somethig that was already published or you went back and changed something before final release?


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Dale McCoy Jr wrote:
Thank you everyone. I am really glad for the warm response to this. I'll be honest in that I was sweating it a bit (not knowing if I'd customers afterwards). But it was the right thing to do. I stand by my conviction and my gay friends.

More power to you, it must be tough being a 3rd party publisher, but were you really worried about loosing customers? I am as conservative as it gets on this issue in real life, but could care less about some npc's in a supplement book. I think I might buy your book because it seems like a good product not because of some stance for/against gay rights.

So yeah just wanted to say as someone who doesn't share your beliefs go ahead and put in whatever content you want like that and know that if it is a good quality product it should stand on it's own. You didn't lose me as a potential customer and from the rest of the thread might have gained some.


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Dale: d'awwwww, you're making me blush! Thanks for the kind words.

The NPC: This decision was made prior to final release. Check jonbrazer.com for further details on our release schedule - Dale should be announcing more concrete info next week!

Paraxis: Thanks for your encouragement. One of our goals in approaching this subject is to ensure that the game setting is served well by its inclusion, rather than the other way around. While JBE's staff and customers certainly care deeply about the issue, the fact remains that we are in the business of making great products first and foremost, and we want everyone to be satisfied with them on their own merit.

The Exchange

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Paraxis wrote:
Dale McCoy Jr wrote:
Thank you everyone. I am really glad for the warm response to this. I'll be honest in that I was sweating it a bit (not knowing if I'd customers afterwards). But it was the right thing to do. I stand by my conviction and my gay friends.

More power to you, it must be tough being a 3rd party publisher, but were you really worried about loosing customers? I am as conservative as it gets on this issue in real life, but could care less about some npc's in a supplement book. I think I might buy your book because it seems like a good product not because of some stance for/against gay rights.

So yeah just wanted to say as someone who doesn't share your beliefs go ahead and put in whatever content you want like that and know that if it is a good quality product it should stand on it's own. You didn't lose me as a potential customer and from the rest of the thread might have gained some.

I wish more moral/ethical disagreements went like this in real life. Bravo.

Jon Brazer Enterprises

Everything that Power Word Unzip said.

Paraxis wrote:
but were you really worried about loosing customers?

While I will always believe that gamers are cool people and wouldn't have a problem with something like this, there was some doubt in my mind that covering something politicians are currently using to gain votes would generate negative sentiment towards the book or the company as a whole.

But I did it because I firmly believe that it was the right thing to do. Both from a game standpoint and from a gamers standpoint.

Jon Brazer Enterprises

brock, no the other one... wrote:
I wish more moral/ethical disagreements went like this in real life. Bravo.

Agreed. Props to paraxis for the civil discussion.

Liberty's Edge

Paraxis wrote:
I think I might buy your book because it seems like a good product not because of some stance for/against gay rights.

I hope you do check these Shadowsfall books out when they are released! I'm really pleased with what I contributed and I have no doubt that the Shadowsfall campaign setting and books will be a HUGE hit!

I know I can't wait to see the final products!


Schweet. It's unfortunate this is even worth a thread, but that's life. Props to you for doing it.

Liberty's Edge

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Really digging the new avatar, by the way!

Dark Archive

Marc Radle wrote:
Really digging the new avatar, by the way!

I don't know, he is looking like someone sucked his life force out and left a empty shell behind.... just saying...

Jon Brazer Enterprises

Marc: Thanks. I'm not settled on it yet. It might change a few more times over the next few days, but I like it as well.

DM: Sounds perfect for one of Shadowsfall's big bads.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The Mouthy Bag With Teeth approves.


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Personally...I don't see what the hubb bubb is all about...I don't care who ya wanna curl up next to...you deserve the same rights to be miserable as the hetero's do when it comes to sharing a last name or raising somebody else's kids.....lol

and yes....that is dripping with sarcasm...

Dale, much kudos to you for picking a side, standing on it, and not letting your concerns convince you to do otherwise...bravo!

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