PaizoCon 2019 GCP Recordings: Arkonis' Lisp


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

Let me preface by saying that I'm a fan, Mr. Mona. I've thoroughly enjoyed the guest appearances you've done with the GCP, and I like what you've done with both Tiny Murder Clown and Arkonis. But I found Arkonis' lisp to be a bit objectionable. I don't think it reflects the inclusivity that I know Paizo advocates and typically demonstrates.

In my opinion, the choice to use a speech impediment for laughs was misguided, and honestly, I think it succeeded only in making certain moments cringey rather than funny. Arkonis is a fun and funny character despite the lisp...not because of it.

Overall, the recordings were a delight and a resounding success, but I felt this needed to be said.

Sincerely,

Gabriel Hesson

edit: Added my name. In making my critique, I don't wish to hide behind anonymity.


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I can only add from my own perspective. I really struggled with a lisp growing up and even in my 30s I am pretty self-conscious of my speech even though the lisp is barely noticeable now. But personally I was not offended.

That said, I’m a huge GCP fan and by extension the Eric & Jason who for me have been part of the show from the beginning (as I discovered the show via the Everflame playtest preview). I don’t want the show to tone down it’s content of fear of offending people. So maybe I’m okay with a lot more then someone who wasn’t already a fan.

I think it helps that while Arkonis may speak with a lisp and “speaking funny” is taken for laughs the character is never subject to teasing or exclusion from the PCs or NPCs. If Jason had said something like “you have a % chance of spell failure because you can’t pronounce the words properly” then that would be entirely inappropriate. Thankfully the group is nothing like that, they playfully make fun of each other but never anything like that.

Dataphiles

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I viewed the lisp as nothing more than an accent put on by the role-player. So many role-players put on stereotypical accents from around the world for their characters that no one blinks at them. This, I felt, falls in the same lines.


Chetna Wavari wrote:
I viewed the lisp as nothing more than an accent put on by the role-player. So many role-players put on stereotypical accents from around the world for their characters that no one blinks at them. This, I felt, falls in the same lines.

Well, to be fair, I think doing some specific accents can make people uncomfortable.

Scarab Sages

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Yeah, this is a nothing-burger.

Dataphiles

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Captain Morgan wrote:
Chetna Wavari wrote:
I viewed the lisp as nothing more than an accent put on by the role-player. So many role-players put on stereotypical accents from around the world for their characters that no one blinks at them. This, I felt, falls in the same lines.
Well, to be fair, I think doing some specific accents can make people uncomfortable.

If you want to deep delve into it without any context a vast majority of them are offensive. British if the person is posh or smart. Southern if they're a bigot or less-educated. Movies and television have been doing that for ages. All dwarves and vikings being Scottish has always been odd.

Most societies do similar things with their pop culture whether it be well-intentioned or ill-intentioned. In British television if you see an American character introduced they're generally going to be a jerk. Maybe not right away, but just give it until the second act.

However, that would be a dissertation in cultural intolerance as presented in media.

What we're actually talking about is whether a lisp is offensive. Being as regional dialects can have lisps as compared to each other (Barcelona usually given as an example for it being pronounced "Barthelona") the question comes in whether Arkonis has a speech-impediment or just simply has some high-brow regional dialect. Since we're talking about a fantasy world where everything is made up and there are no cultural experts on the High-Taldan accent of Oppara we can't know.

So, the question is do you assign malice to actions or simply artistic license for a fantasy universe? I generally don't want to assume malice in any general situation. Otherwise, you'll just be upset at everything all the time. We've got enough of that in the world right now.


Chetna Wavari wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Chetna Wavari wrote:
I viewed the lisp as nothing more than an accent put on by the role-player. So many role-players put on stereotypical accents from around the world for their characters that no one blinks at them. This, I felt, falls in the same lines.
Well, to be fair, I think doing some specific accents can make people uncomfortable.

If you want to deep delve into it without any context a vast majority of them are offensive. British if the person is posh or smart. Southern if they're a bigot or less-educated. Movies and television have been doing that for ages. All dwarves and vikings being Scottish has always been odd.

Most societies do similar things with their pop culture whether it be well-intentioned or ill-intentioned. In British television if you see an American character introduced they're generally going to be a jerk. Maybe not right away, but just give it until the second act.

However, that would be a dissertation in cultural intolerance as presented in media.

What we're actually talking about is whether a lisp is offensive. Being as regional dialects can have lisps as compared to each other (Barcelona usually given as an example for it being pronounced "Barthelona") the question comes in whether Arkonis has a speech-impediment or just simply has some high-brow regional dialect. Since we're talking about a fantasy world where everything is made up and there are no cultural experts on the High-Taldan accent of Oppara we can't know.

So, the question is do you assign malice to actions or simply artistic license for a fantasy universe? I generally don't want to assume malice in any general situation. Otherwise, you'll just be upset at everything all the time. We've got enough of that in the world right now.

Your accent point was interesting

I recall part of the episode where the other character say something back to him (might even have been his own name) without the lisp and he corrected them

I don’t know a lot about lisps but that suggests to me that it could easily be related to pronunciation and accent

*

But your last paragraph has the right of it. Best not to assume malicious or negative intent when there is absolutely no evidence of it whatsoever

Exo-Guardians

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Isn't Arconis from Taldor? Taldor has a very "17th-century Spain" feel to it, so i assumed Mona was just affecting a stereotypical Castilian-Spanish accent, which is known for its lisping sound. it's a feature of standard Peninsular Spanish pronunciation, not a speech impediment.


Saros Palanthios wrote:
Isn't Arconis from Taldor? Taldor has a very "17th-century Spain" feel to it, so i assumed Mona was just affecting a stereotypical Castilian-Spanish accent, which is known for its lisping sound. it's a feature of standard Peninsular Spanish pronunciation, not a speech impediment.

Does he also do the sort of "throat-clearing" noise when making a G or a J sound? Since my understanding of the Castillian accent is that C and Z words are pronounced with a "th" (so "cerveza" becomes "Thervetha"), s words are pronounced with a "sh" (so "años" becomes "añosh") and the whole "you clear your throat" nose when you use a G or a J.


Chetna Wavari wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Chetna Wavari wrote:
I viewed the lisp as nothing more than an accent put on by the role-player. So many role-players put on stereotypical accents from around the world for their characters that no one blinks at them. This, I felt, falls in the same lines.
Well, to be fair, I think doing some specific accents can make people uncomfortable.

If you want to deep delve into it without any context a vast majority of them are offensive. British if the person is posh or smart. Southern if they're a bigot or less-educated. Movies and television have been doing that for ages. All dwarves and vikings being Scottish has always been odd.

Most societies do similar things with their pop culture whether it be well-intentioned or ill-intentioned. In British television if you see an American character introduced they're generally going to be a jerk. Maybe not right away, but just give it until the second act.

However, that would be a dissertation in cultural intolerance as presented in media.

What we're actually talking about is whether a lisp is offensive. Being as regional dialects can have lisps as compared to each other (Barcelona usually given as an example for it being pronounced "Barthelona") the question comes in whether Arkonis has a speech-impediment or just simply has some high-brow regional dialect. Since we're talking about a fantasy world where everything is made up and there are no cultural experts on the High-Taldan accent of Oppara we can't know.

So, the question is do you assign malice to actions or simply artistic license for a fantasy universe? I generally don't want to assume malice in any general situation. Otherwise, you'll just be upset at everything all the time. We've got enough of that in the world right now.

I don't think that malice is necessary to make a mistake. It may affect how harshly we criticize something, but you can make a mistake with zero intention to hurt anyone. I'm not personally offended by the use of the lisp, but Gabriel the TC didn't say Erik Mona did it out of malice. Nor did they attack Mona.

Similarly, someone could do an offensive accent without being aware that it is offensive. Generally speaking, talking to someone about why it is offensive seems like a decent idea.


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Chetna Wavari wrote:
In British television if you see an American character introduced they're generally going to be a jerk. Maybe not right away, but just give it until the second act.

Speaking as a (North) American, I did not know this and it genuinely tickles me...


Well shoot. Now I’m wondering if I should be doing accents at all. It’s like one of those fun things I listen to and practice for fun so NPCs can sound distinct.

I had never considered an accent would offend someone if just used, well, as an accent. I suppose that’s more of not letting an accent become a stereotype. But then, I guess stereotypes are considers faux pas even if it’s fantasy?

Oof


Midnightoker wrote:

Well shoot. Now I’m wondering if I should be doing accents at all. It’s like one of those fun things I listen to and practice for fun so NPCs can sound distinct.

I had never considered an accent would offend someone if just used, well, as an accent. I suppose that’s more of not letting an accent become a stereotype. But then, I guess stereotypes are considers faux pas even if it’s fantasy?

Oof

In a setting as close and relatively intimate as a tabletop group I would think that, at worst, a heartfelt apology would be able to put any perceived problems to rest. I'm also a big fan of using accents and throwing my voice--It's just how I speak--and these points were eye-openers for me, as well. Nobody I have gamed with, or currently game with, has ever had a problem with any voice I may use but that of course may not always be the case.

Scarab Sages

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Midnightoker wrote:

Well shoot. Now I’m wondering if I should be doing accents at all. It’s like one of those fun things I listen to and practice for fun so NPCs can sound distinct.

I had never considered an accent would offend someone if just used, well, as an accent. I suppose that’s more of not letting an accent become a stereotype. But then, I guess stereotypes are considers faux pas even if it’s fantasy?

Oof

Being offended is their problem, you do what you enjoy, and if they are really bothered by it they can talk to you like an adult.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Angel Hunter D wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:

Well shoot. Now I’m wondering if I should be doing accents at all. It’s like one of those fun things I listen to and practice for fun so NPCs can sound distinct.

I had never considered an accent would offend someone if just used, well, as an accent. I suppose that’s more of not letting an accent become a stereotype. But then, I guess stereotypes are considers faux pas even if it’s fantasy?

Oof

Being offended is their problem, you do what you enjoy, and if they are really bothered by it they can talk to you like an adult.

If you’re being offensive, you’re the problem.

Giving a character an accent to give a character an accent is fine.

Giving a character an accent/speech patterns to make them the source of a joke or relying on cringey stereotypes is not.


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So what I learned about accents in improv is pretty applicable here:

1) If you're doing an accent for a character who doesn't sound anything like you normally do, portray this person at the height of their intelligence. If you want to make "this person is dumb" the butt of a joke, that character should sound mostly like you do.

2) It's best to stick to Western European (and perhaps Russian) accents unless you're doing a different one associated with people from your own ethnic group or at least people who look like you.

3) If you get notes, take them. It doesn't matter how funny you think your faux Hong Kong action flick overdubbing style for the monk character is, if someone tells you to knock it off then you do so.

4) When in doubt, make it weird.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

So what I learned about accents in improv is pretty applicable here:

1) If you're doing an accent for a character who doesn't sound anything like you normally do, portray this person at the height of their intelligence. If you want to make "this person is dumb" the butt of a joke, that character should sound mostly like you do.

2) It's best to stick to Western European (and perhaps Russian) accents unless you're doing a different one associated with people from your own ethnic group or at least people who look like you.

3) If you get notes, take them. It doesn't matter how funny you think your faux Hong Kong action flick overdubbing style for the monk character is, if someone tells you to knock it off then you do so.

4) When in doubt, make it weird.

Excellent advice. I've been trying to be better, while still keeping the audio cue of having a different voice for some NPCs. I mostly go higher or lower, and add verbal habits.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:


2) It's best to stick to Western European (and perhaps Russian) accents unless you're doing a different one associated with people from your own ethnic group or at least people who look like you.

So it's not offensive to do a bad French or Irish accent if you feel you look like a French or Irish person?

I know this might blow your mind, but sharing a skin colour doesn't suddenly make a s$#+ty attempt at an accent any more or less offensive. And, this is definitely going to shock you- French people and German people and Italian people and Irish people and Russian people all look different from each other. I understand than for Americans everyone gets lumped into groups based on skin colour, but that's not how the rest of the world actually works.


What are non-offensive ways to impart uneducated attributes to a character?

What are non-offensive ways to impart negative qualities in general?

While making them "sound like me" might be the least offensive way to do it, I find that pretending to be myself (however negative and uneducated I am) is a lot less immersive than pretending to be the character I'm playing.

In my homebrew, the regions are all relatively inspired by real life places in some aspects (more often it's a blend of cultures).

I guess I was using it to carry my immersive interactions with PCs, though I don't necessarily use accents every time, there are definitely speech patterns that are on the "weird" side that I've tried (high pitched, giddy, and erratic for the "misunderstood genius") but those are sort of snapshots of other characters I've heard.

Honestly, me personally, it's probably a non-issue since I almost exclusively play with those I am close to, but there could always be someone new that feels that way.

Let's say you have to do some kind of speech pattern to create stronger immersion (or you just want to try to find that) how would you do the following respectfully:

- an unintelligent person
- a malicious person
- a violent person
- an arrogant jerk
- a street tough
- a thug
- a pick pocket
- a crooked merchant
- a crooked politician
- a crooked old person
- a crooked old merchant politician
- creatures of varying ancestries/origins

Scarab Sages

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Rysky wrote:
Angel Hunter D wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:

Well shoot. Now I’m wondering if I should be doing accents at all. It’s like one of those fun things I listen to and practice for fun so NPCs can sound distinct.

I had never considered an accent would offend someone if just used, well, as an accent. I suppose that’s more of not letting an accent become a stereotype. But then, I guess stereotypes are considers faux pas even if it’s fantasy?

Oof

Being offended is their problem, you do what you enjoy, and if they are really bothered by it they can talk to you like an adult.

If you’re being offensive, you’re the problem.

Giving a character an accent to give a character an accent is fine.

Giving a character an accent/speech patterns to make them the source of a joke or relying on cringey stereotypes is not.

Rysky, how about we do each other a favour and never respond to each other again? It's clear that in every thread we're like positive and negative energy. I don't think we'll be able to stay polite, or even have a decent discussion, given our completely different ideological/intellectual bases.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Angel Hunter D wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Angel Hunter D wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:

Well shoot. Now I’m wondering if I should be doing accents at all. It’s like one of those fun things I listen to and practice for fun so NPCs can sound distinct.

I had never considered an accent would offend someone if just used, well, as an accent. I suppose that’s more of not letting an accent become a stereotype. But then, I guess stereotypes are considers faux pas even if it’s fantasy?

Oof

Being offended is their problem, you do what you enjoy, and if they are really bothered by it they can talk to you like an adult.

If you’re being offensive, you’re the problem.

Giving a character an accent to give a character an accent is fine.

Giving a character an accent/speech patterns to make them the source of a joke or relying on cringey stereotypes is not.

Rysky, how about we do each other a favour and never respond to each other again? It's clear that in every thread we're like positive and negative energy. I don't think we'll be able to stay polite, or even have a decent discussion, given our completely different ideological/intellectual bases.

Tee hee, you walked into it by yourself: which one of you is positive and which one is negative energy, then? :)

Scarab Sages

Gorbacz wrote:
Angel Hunter D wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Angel Hunter D wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:

Well shoot. Now I’m wondering if I should be doing accents at all. It’s like one of those fun things I listen to and practice for fun so NPCs can sound distinct.

I had never considered an accent would offend someone if just used, well, as an accent. I suppose that’s more of not letting an accent become a stereotype. But then, I guess stereotypes are considers faux pas even if it’s fantasy?

Oof

Being offended is their problem, you do what you enjoy, and if they are really bothered by it they can talk to you like an adult.

If you’re being offensive, you’re the problem.

Giving a character an accent to give a character an accent is fine.

Giving a character an accent/speech patterns to make them the source of a joke or relying on cringey stereotypes is not.

Rysky, how about we do each other a favour and never respond to each other again? It's clear that in every thread we're like positive and negative energy. I don't think we'll be able to stay polite, or even have a decent discussion, given our completely different ideological/intellectual bases.
Tee hee, you walked into it by yourself: which one of you is positive and which one is negative energy, then? :)

For the sake of politeness I'll leave that to other minds.


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I'd say if you want to offend nobody, the chance of that is inversely proportional to the size of your audience.

A good start would probably be to think of the first couple of associated stereotypes that come to mind - then discard them and do something else. For example, if you want a crooked merchant, you can't probably go wrong with NOT picking a Jewish impression. It doesn't really have to be the accent that carries the crooked merchant feel, could be a choice of words or accessories or the objects in the room etc...

That said, I personally think it's fine to occasionally play into the negative stereotype as long as you clearly show that 1) it's a specific trait of this one member of the ethnic/racial/etc group and 2) this trait is also shared by some characters not belonging to that group. But then, I don't come from a Western culture, so maybe that shapes my views.

On topic, I guess the OP may have been offended because the lisping character was comedic, but to me it didn't feel at all that the lisp was intended as a butt of the joke because 1) not just Arkonis was being made fun of and 2) the lisp was far from the only thing funny about him. I'm absolutely sure that Mr. Mona did not intend to publicly make fun of lisping people, in any case. For the record, I too have a slight lisp IRL.


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Midnightoker wrote:


Let's say you have to do some kind of speech pattern to create stronger immersion (or you just want to try to find that) how would you do the following respectfully:

- an unintelligent person
- a malicious person
- a violent person
- an arrogant jerk
- a street tough
- a thug
- a pick pocket
- a crooked merchant
- a crooked politician
- a crooked old person
- a crooked old merchant politician
- creatures of varying ancestries/origins

To reitterate Rysky's point in a focused manner, the speech patterns and tones should be about making a rich, deep and interesting character, not playing into a stereotype.

It is usually pretty difficult to assess someone's intelligence by their vocal patterns or looks. Education and vocabulary might come across quickly in hearing someone speak, but neither of those alone are truly a sign of intelligence, although letting characters make assumptions about the NPCs they meet based upon the character's vocabulary can create interesting situations that play against stereotypes.

Malicious people might be more prone to yelling and treating others with disrespect immediately, or after assessing that other person's power and ability to make like difficult for them. A malicious person that meets the party first with words of friendship and a smile can make for a more memorable villain later on.

I think the key is to focus on having the character's be able to express the right emotions, or try to hide their emotions with speech patterns where you have the capacity for displaying multiple emotions from. People who are strong or smart or talented might speak with confidence or even arrogance...or they might not depending if the character is supposed to be dismissive of the PCs when they first interact, or welcoming.


CyberMephit wrote:
That said, I personally think it's fine to occasionally play into the negative stereotype as long as you clearly show that 1) it's a specific trait of this one member of the ethnic/racial/etc group and 2) this trait is also shared by some characters not belonging to that group. But then, I don't come from a Western culture, so maybe that shapes my views.

I think that makes a lot of sense and seems reasonable.

On the topic of the lisp, I think MaxAstro is probably right and it's influenced from Catalan Spanish.

Unicore wrote:
It is usually pretty difficult to assess someone's intelligence by their vocal patterns or looks.

The latter, most certainly.

The former, while it isn't a given necessarily, improper use of vocabulary can be a give away and while an accent can be just an accent, it can also indicate extended residency/surroundings (which generally means "less traveled").

While neither of those directly translate to intelligence, you could argue there's correlation with being less traveled and not being knowledgeable or having a poor vocabulary and being under-read/educated.


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A very table-dependent issue, certainly worth considering if you have a public audience or are playing with people you don't know very well.

OP did a nice job framing the post.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

As the OP, I'd like to say thanks for the robust discussion. Clearly this is a complex issue and many good points have been raised.

I have a few further thoughts to add, but they don't feel very organized; so I'll just use a bullet point format.

- I don't believe there was any malice whatsoever in Mr. Mona's portrayal of Arkonis.

- I agree that considerations for such things will vary depending on the circumstances (e.g. a table of close friends, a table of strangers, or on stage in front of the public). In particular, if on stage in front of the public and acting in an official capacity as a high-ranking officer/executive of a company that is vocal in its advocacy for equality and inclusiveness, I think one should be especially thoughtful.

- I have lived in Barcelona and am familiar with the Catalonian accent. On the other hand, I am not closely acquainted with anyone with a lisp. I don't know why my mind went to speech impediment rather than accent. Without Mr. Mona's response, we won't know the truth of it.

- I wasn't personally offended. Rather, I felt cringey embarrassment and puzzlement at the RP choice.

- I'm guilty of giving offense, even with the best of intentions. Furthermore, I've even done it while using an over-the-top French accent to portray a character from Galt. So I'm not casting stones here. I'm just saying, "Hey, give this some thought."

- For those who have shared here that despite having (or having had) a lisp they were not offended, I am glad.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Rysky wrote:
Angel Hunter D wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:

Well shoot. Now I’m wondering if I should be doing accents at all. It’s like one of those fun things I listen to and practice for fun so NPCs can sound distinct.

I had never considered an accent would offend someone if just used, well, as an accent. I suppose that’s more of not letting an accent become a stereotype. But then, I guess stereotypes are considers faux pas even if it’s fantasy?

Oof

Being offended is their problem, you do what you enjoy, and if they are really bothered by it they can talk to you like an adult.

If you’re being offensive, you’re the problem.

Giving a character an accent to give a character an accent is fine.

Giving a character an accent/speech patterns to make them the source of a joke or relying on cringey stereotypes is not.

*whew* that first line is a *very* hot take, lots of times when people are offended it really is their responsibility, not the responsibility of the person who 'offended' them.

I am part of communities that are considered an affront to some, who wouldn't be able to do things like express affection to their partners, use the correct bathroom, or worship their own religion if someone else being offended by them meant they were in the wrong.

Generally speaking, the emotional reaction to a behavior shouldn't be used to identify the behavior as a problem, it's too easily manipulated by bigotry, bias, or desires to depict someone else as awful for reasons of credibility.

There must be something else about "Giving a character an accent/speech patterns to make them the source of a joke or relying on cringey stereotypes is not." that would provide better grounds on which to condemn it.


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Well, intent matters for one. It's not a free pass to do whatever you want, but it certainly matters to me whether the action was intended to ridicule or offend someone else, or just innocent thoughtlessness.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
The-Magic-Sword wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Angel Hunter D wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:

Well shoot. Now I’m wondering if I should be doing accents at all. It’s like one of those fun things I listen to and practice for fun so NPCs can sound distinct.

I had never considered an accent would offend someone if just used, well, as an accent. I suppose that’s more of not letting an accent become a stereotype. But then, I guess stereotypes are considers faux pas even if it’s fantasy?

Oof

Being offended is their problem, you do what you enjoy, and if they are really bothered by it they can talk to you like an adult.

If you’re being offensive, you’re the problem.

Giving a character an accent to give a character an accent is fine.

Giving a character an accent/speech patterns to make them the source of a joke or relying on cringey stereotypes is not.

*whew* that first line is a *very* hot take, lots of times when people are offended it really is their responsibility, not the responsibility of the person who 'offended' them.

I am part of communities that are considered an affront to some, who wouldn't be able to do things like express affection to their partners, use the correct bathroom, or worship their own religion if someone else being offended by them meant they were in the wrong.

Generally speaking, the emotional reaction to a behavior shouldn't be used to identify the behavior as a problem, it's too easily manipulated by bigotry, bias, or desires to depict someone else as awful for reasons of credibility.

There must be something else about "Giving a character an accent/speech patterns to make them the source of a joke or relying on cringey stereotypes is not." that would provide better grounds on which to condemn it.

Offending someone because you exist (f%+* em) and offending someone because you adopt a stereotyped accent coded with unpleasantness to make a joke are two completely separate things.

On topic with accents if you adopt an offensive without knowing it’s offensive it’s still on you. You still did it. Does it automatically make you an evil person? No, depending on how you act with the knowledge “oh hey that thing was bad” after.


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Rysky wrote:
On topic with accents if you adopt an offensive without knowing it’s offensive it’s still on you. You still did it. Does it automatically make you an evil person? No, depending on how you act with the knowledge “oh hey that thing was bad” after.

And of course, "bad" is highly subjective. Burping at the table is considered complimentary in some cultures and extremely rude in others. Some people are easily offended. Gotta make judgement calls.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Rysky wrote:
The-Magic-Sword wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Angel Hunter D wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:

Well shoot. Now I’m wondering if I should be doing accents at all. It’s like one of those fun things I listen to and practice for fun so NPCs can sound distinct.

I had never considered an accent would offend someone if just used, well, as an accent. I suppose that’s more of not letting an accent become a stereotype. But then, I guess stereotypes are considers faux pas even if it’s fantasy?

Oof

Being offended is their problem, you do what you enjoy, and if they are really bothered by it they can talk to you like an adult.

If you’re being offensive, you’re the problem.

Giving a character an accent to give a character an accent is fine.

Giving a character an accent/speech patterns to make them the source of a joke or relying on cringey stereotypes is not.

*whew* that first line is a *very* hot take, lots of times when people are offended it really is their responsibility, not the responsibility of the person who 'offended' them.

I am part of communities that are considered an affront to some, who wouldn't be able to do things like express affection to their partners, use the correct bathroom, or worship their own religion if someone else being offended by them meant they were in the wrong.

Generally speaking, the emotional reaction to a behavior shouldn't be used to identify the behavior as a problem, it's too easily manipulated by bigotry, bias, or desires to depict someone else as awful for reasons of credibility.

There must be something else about "Giving a character an accent/speech patterns to make them the source of a joke or relying on cringey stereotypes is not." that would provide better grounds on which to condemn it.

Offending someone because you exist (f$@$ em) and offending someone because you adopt a stereotyped accent coded with unpleasantness to make a joke are two completely separate things.

On topic with accents if you adopt an offensive...

So, thats all well and good when you do have the context of the other person's intent (for example, if an avowed racist used a caricatured accent in the middle of a slew of slurs, that's pretty clear) but what about when someone affects an accent that isn't meant to offend, but does so, effectively because they aren't very good at them?

Take for example my flamboyant accent, I sometimes use for some characters- its very very camp gay, and those characters are certainly meant to be amusing. As a Bi person, who is effectively in that gray space of gender identities that some like to call non-binary or genderfluid (I prefer Trans-Gressive myself) I'm not especially worried about being bigoted toward the communities who might be upset by it (and indeed, my players, who run the LGBTQ+ gamut don't seem to view it as a problem.)

But nevertheless, my quest to differentiate NPCs voices have led me through some pretty awful Russian, Italian (am Italian American), and Irish accents. There's one kid in my masks game where I shove a finger in my mouth to emulate a high school student trying to talk around a pretty extreme retainer- he's neurologically typical, but sometimes he probably comes across otherwise as a result of the voice (being read as autistic, also isn't a foreign experience to me.)

There are a few I've done where I'm not even sure what they would be a caricature of, but probably something somewhere. None of these were even meant to be funny (though my players tend to think my stumbling attempts at voices are funny) but nevertheless I've caught myself debating whether I should stop doing voices or accents because of how they might be perceived.


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mrspaghetti wrote:
Some people are easily offended.

It doesn't matter whether it's easy or hard to offend someone.

It still matters that you are behaving offensively and can change your behavior once you're made aware that the behavior is offensive.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
CrystalSeas wrote:
mrspaghetti wrote:
Some people are easily offended.

It doesn't matter whether it's easy or hard to offend someone.

It still matters that you are behaving offensively and can change your behavior once you're made aware that the behavior is offensive.

For some of us that would mean avoiding holding hands with our same sex partners in public, not expressing atheism in any circumstance, and quite a few other things people tend to get rather offended by >.>


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CrystalSeas wrote:
mrspaghetti wrote:
Some people are easily offended.

It doesn't matter whether it's easy or hard to offend someone.

It still matters that you are behaving offensively and can change your behavior once you're made aware that the behavior is offensive.

The natural assumption is that you're playing Pathfinder with people who are generally reasonable, so yes the default reaction would be to stop the behavior and probably apologize. I personally probably wouldn't play with anyone who was offended by good-faith accents though, since that's half the fun of an rpg.


The-Magic-Sword wrote:
CrystalSeas wrote:
mrspaghetti wrote:
Some people are easily offended.

It doesn't matter whether it's easy or hard to offend someone.

It still matters that you are behaving offensively and can change your behavior once you're made aware that the behavior is offensive.

For some of us that would mean avoiding holding hands with our same sex partners in public, not expressing atheism in any circumstance, and quite a few other things people tend to get rather offended by >.>

Religion and politics discussions are excellent ways to prevent or ruin a fun gaming experience unless you know for sure you're among like-minded people.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
mrspaghetti wrote:
The-Magic-Sword wrote:
CrystalSeas wrote:
mrspaghetti wrote:
Some people are easily offended.

It doesn't matter whether it's easy or hard to offend someone.

It still matters that you are behaving offensively and can change your behavior once you're made aware that the behavior is offensive.

For some of us that would mean avoiding holding hands with our same sex partners in public, not expressing atheism in any circumstance, and quite a few other things people tend to get rather offended by >.>
Religion and politics discussions are excellent ways to prevent or ruin a fun gaming experience unless you know for sure you're among like-minded people.

Sexual orientation isn't political, or at the very least, making it political is something done by people who want to make non-heterosexuality taboo.


The-Magic-Sword wrote:
mrspaghetti wrote:
The-Magic-Sword wrote:
CrystalSeas wrote:
mrspaghetti wrote:
Some people are easily offended.

It doesn't matter whether it's easy or hard to offend someone.

It still matters that you are behaving offensively and can change your behavior once you're made aware that the behavior is offensive.

For some of us that would mean avoiding holding hands with our same sex partners in public, not expressing atheism in any circumstance, and quite a few other things people tend to get rather offended by >.>
Religion and politics discussions are excellent ways to prevent or ruin a fun gaming experience unless you know for sure you're among like-minded people.
Sexual orientation isn't political, or at the very least, making it political is something done by people who want to make non-heterosexuality taboo.

Did not mean to imply that it was. You mentioned atheism, which would be part of a religious discussion. Since political discussions and political discussions are similar in their ability to ruin or prevent fun gaming, I thought I would mention them together. I can see how my post could have been misinterpreted though, so apologies for my lack of clarity.


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The-Magic-Sword wrote:
CrystalSeas wrote:
mrspaghetti wrote:
Some people are easily offended.

It doesn't matter whether it's easy or hard to offend someone.

It still matters that you are behaving offensively and can change your behavior once you're made aware that the behavior is offensive.

For some of us that would mean avoiding holding hands with our same sex partners in public, not expressing atheism in any circumstance, and quite a few other things people tend to get rather offended by >.>

*sigh*

There's that.

"can change" is the operative phrase though.
The point of this thread is to highlight behavior that might not be recognized as offensive, and giving someone a chance to make a conscious decision.

If you know a certain behavior is offensive you can choose how to respond to that information.

If you don't know, you just go along being offensive whether you want to or not.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Gotcha

Exo-Guardians

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Applied_People wrote:
- I have lived in Barcelona and am familiar with the Catalonian accent.

Then you know that it's Madrileños who say "Barthelona"... actual Catalans say "Barcelona" like the rest of the Spanish-speaking world does.

Applied_People wrote:
On the other hand, I am not closely acquainted with anyone with a lisp. I don't know why my mind went to speech impediment rather than accent. Without Mr. Mona's response, we won't know the truth of it.

So you're vicariously offended on behalf of people you have no connection with? Bold move, i guess.


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Saros Palanthios wrote:
Applied_People wrote:
- I have lived in Barcelona and am familiar with the Catalonian accent.
Then you know that it's Madrileños who say "Barthelona"... actual Catalans say "Barcelona" like the rest of the Spanish-speaking world does.

Correct. Did I say somewhere that Catalonians say "Barthelona"?

Saros Palanthios wrote:
Applied_People wrote:
On the other hand, I am not closely acquainted with anyone with a lisp. I don't know why my mind went to speech impediment rather than accent. Without Mr. Mona's response, we won't know the truth of it.
So you're vicariously offended on behalf of people you have no connection with? Bold move, i guess.

I'm not female/gay/African American/elderly/handicapped, but I think it's okay for me to object to unfair treatment of said individuals. I also don't think it's particularly bold. If anything, it's easy. Doing something about it is the bold part. Would you disagree?


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CrystalSeas wrote:
The-Magic-Sword wrote:
CrystalSeas wrote:
mrspaghetti wrote:
Some people are easily offended.

It doesn't matter whether it's easy or hard to offend someone.

It still matters that you are behaving offensively and can change your behavior once you're made aware that the behavior is offensive.

For some of us that would mean avoiding holding hands with our same sex partners in public, not expressing atheism in any circumstance, and quite a few other things people tend to get rather offended by >.>

*sigh*

There's that.

"can change" is the operative phrase though.
The point of this thread is to highlight behavior that might not be recognized as offensive, and giving someone a chance to make a conscious decision.

If you know a certain behavior is offensive you can choose how to respond to that information.

If you don't know, you just go along being offensive whether you want to or not.

Honestly, that sort of thing is why I tend to be sort of... wary? there's a lot of offensive nonsense I make sure no one has to put up with at my table, but some people are very aggressive about using their own indignation as a kind of line edit of other people's behaviors beyond reasonability, and that's where I tend to draw the line and choose to reject the criticism of certain behaviors for myself, and sometimes even for others.

It's become difficult, particularly within circles of social justice conscious people (of which I am one) because everyone takes for granted their world view is the defining standard for how some issues should be addressed- and it can cause conflicts, even if both people involved have a similar level of familiarity with the topic because we've been conditioned to shoot first, and ask questions later when trying to correct other people's behavior, so the shame rhetoric tends to come out fast, and people jockey for the moral high ground.


This is a dizzying discussion.

Maybe we can discuss ways to “get it right”, or at least generally agreed upon right ways to do impressions/accents. I doubt debating this is going to solve one of the most prominent problems of the modern day!

I think everyone’s heart is in the right place, and although intent isn’t everything, it sounds like it means something to most people here.

What about ways to add depth to static characters subtly? That takes things from a butt of a joke or stereotype to somewhat nuanced.


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The summary seems to be:

1) Make an effort to roleplay - ex. using accents
2) Keep communication lines open with your players
3) If a conflict comes up, be prepared to deal with it like an adult

That said, I appreciate the discussion, as I tend to never not learn something new when I hear (read) others' points of view (and additional information, facts, theories, etc).


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Midnightoker wrote:


What about ways to add depth to static characters subtly? That takes things from a butt of a joke or stereotype to somewhat nuanced.

It's a good question and one I think Matt Colville answers pretty well in this YouTube video on roleplaying. The part about moving from a one-dimensional character to a multi-dimensional character is particularly valid...hint: it has nothing to do with accents.

Matt Colville on Roleplaying

Dataphiles

I like the idea of it being a take on the English version of a Castilian-Spanish accent.

There are entirely invented accents as well. If you look at the TV show The Expanse they have the Belter accent. It's the accent of folks who grew up in the mining colonies of the asteroid belt. It is very distinct and while it might have influences from a range of different regions the Belter accent is very much its own.

This avoids some of the complaints that people had about the Star Wars prequels where they thought the various alien species accents were rather offensive since they sounded too much like certain regions on Earth and each species played a singular stereotype role instead of being varied in their representation. For example, if Jar-Jar Binks had his accent, but the rest of the Gungans were portrayed as a standard mix from smarty and savvy to inept and clumsy then the sting of the Gungan accent would be a bit less. Instead the entire race was portrayed in a less intelligent rather ridiculous fashion. The accents of the Toydarian and the Nemoidians were both equally bad for other reasons.


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Why did you make this post and not simply contact Erik directly? By creating a public message, that is so obviously personally directed towards one person, you conjure up implications regarding your original motivation. What kind of satisfaction are you looking for? If you simply wanted to express your opinion, why didn't you just email him or contact Paizo? By creating a thread on Paizo forums, one can't help but assume that you are searching for either affirmation, attention, and/or crowd-sourcing support. Did you "just want to start a conversation"? Which, in my experience, is often a most brazen excuse of contrivance as a mask for personal desire.

tl;dr, I respectfully disagree with your posting of this thread, and (IMO) we do a disservice to actual instances of social injustice by giving this attention.


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The-Magic-Sword wrote:


Sexual orientation isn't political, or at the very least, making it political is something done by people who want to make non-heterosexuality taboo.

If you honestly believe that it was only made political by the political right, you should open your eyes. It's a big world out there.


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Jakesfield wrote:

Why did you make this post and not simply contact Erik directly? By creating a public message, that is so obviously personally directed towards one person, you conjure up implications regarding your original motivation. What kind of satisfaction are you looking for? If you simply wanted to express your opinion, why didn't you just email him or contact Paizo? By creating a thread on Paizo forums, one can't help but assume that you are searching for either affirmation, attention, and/or crowd-sourcing support. Did you "just want to start a conversation"? Which, in my experience, is often a most brazen excuse of contrivance as a mask for personal desire.

tl;dr, I respectfully disagree with your posting of this thread, and (IMO) we do a disservice to actual instances of social injustice by giving this attention.

I see nothing wrong with starting a conversation on Paizo boards about ways to role-play characters. That's not "brazen" or a "mask for personal desire". It's wanting to have a conversation.

Emailing staff directly is difficult: there is not central directory of staff emails. And the point being made is much broader than just one example.

Contrary to your opinion, this is an fine example of social injustice. Your belief that it doesn't meet some threshold to be "actual" is not a universal belief.

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