WFRP Social Justice & Representation

For general discussions about WFRP
FasterThanJesus
Posts: 322
Joined: Thu Jun 20, 2019 4:30 pm
Location: UK

Orin J. wrote:
Sat Jul 18, 2020 5:34 pm
Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Sat Jul 18, 2020 9:16 am
I'd be wary of the "Orcs=blacks" metaphor unless I was looking to do something really edgy and subversive. D&D is currently undergoing a major overhaul of its races and that's one of the hot-button issues.
i mean they're supposed to be based on irish soccer hooligans more than anything........
I always thought they were cockney geezers.
dry_erase
Posts: 57
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:58 pm

FasterThanJesus wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 8:18 am
Orin J. wrote:
Sat Jul 18, 2020 5:34 pm
Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Sat Jul 18, 2020 9:16 am
I'd be wary of the "Orcs=blacks" metaphor unless I was looking to do something really edgy and subversive. D&D is currently undergoing a major overhaul of its races and that's one of the hot-button issues.
i mean they're supposed to be based on irish soccer hooligans more than anything........
I always thought they were cockney geezers.
Yeah, stereotypical Millwall hooligans or Chelsea Headhunters or similar... along with generic "thick British thug at kicking out time". League football in ROI never had much of a hooliganism problem as far as I know.
Theo
Posts: 150
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:25 pm

skerrigan wrote:
Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:31 pm
I'm a big fan of playing games for the sake of it and keeping my political inclinations out of it (which is easy, I have disdain for all spectrums of the UK political spectrum). I'm not particularly interested in involving modern gender politics in my game, as it's not something that really interests me and dates any piece of work. Case in point, the current POTUS - popular media is obsessed with portraying Trump-like characters. Star Trek, There's even an NPC in the Adventures Afoot in the Reikland who wants to Make the Reikland Great Again. (Gee, I wonder who that's a pastiche of). That kind of commentary is only really amusing when its subtle (like say Empress Magritte being Margaret Thatcher) and not in your face.

That said, I kinda like Toby's ideas. Karla Grunburg is a brilliant idea, a bit like the Judean People's Front in Life of Brian (so your chief enemy is Chaos? No, they're second, our first is the church of Sigmar), as is an ogre entering the olympics as a halfling (I identify as a halfling, I like pie and I have fur on my feet, you Mootphobe!)
I suppose the last bit is good if you want to make the point that transgender rights are wrong and ridiculous. But that sounds an awful lot like "involving modern gender politics" to me.
Theo
Posts: 150
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:25 pm

Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 5:07 am
Yes I would agree, although social justice in WFRP has traditionally involved anti-government class struggles (e.g. freeing the peasants of Wittgendorf, investigating taxes and town councils). It's possible that "friendly mutants" were metaphors for oppressed RW groups, but that angle doesn't really work anymore under the new Chaos concept. EDIT: Witch hunters in WH fantasy ought to to be reconsidered in general IMO. No matter how much you try and explain to a female gamer that Chaos is unambiguously evil, it's not a good look having witch hunting validated and justified in the setting.
What 'new concept'? Mutants being victims of oppression has been a staple of WFRP since forever and is certainly present in the new 4E material. What would invalidate that?
Herr Arnulfe
Posts: 134
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:06 am

Theo wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 4:56 pm
What 'new concept'? Mutants being victims of oppression has been a staple of WFRP since forever and is certainly present in the new 4E material. What would invalidate that?
Mutants can still be victims of oppression, sure, but they can no longer function as metaphors for RW oppressed groups because mutations are now considered evil. It would be akin to sympathizing with someone because they woke up one morning with a swastika on their forehead.
User avatar
Orin J.
Posts: 472
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:39 pm

Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 7:39 pm
Theo wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 4:56 pm
What 'new concept'? Mutants being victims of oppression has been a staple of WFRP since forever and is certainly present in the new 4E material. What would invalidate that?
Mutants can still be victims of oppression, sure, but they can no longer function as metaphors for RW oppressed groups because mutations are now considered evil. It would be akin to sympathizing with someone because they woke up one morning with a swastika on their forehead.
also in 4th insanities are treated the same as a mutation, which is....not a good look. aside from being absolutely AWFUL for developing plots.
User avatar
Totsuzenheni Yukimi
Posts: 338
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:38 pm

Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 7:39 pm
Mutants can still be victims of oppression, sure, but they can no longer function as metaphors for RW oppressed groups because mutations are now considered evil. It would be akin to sympathizing with someone because they woke up one morning with a swastika on their forehead.
To be clear, are you meaning that if someone woke up one morning with a swastika on their forehead you wouldn't be sympathetic?
Herr Arnulfe
Posts: 134
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:06 am

totsuzenheni wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 2:02 am
To be clear, are you meaning that if someone woke up one morning with a swastika on their forehead you wouldn't be sympathetic?
I suppose that would depend on whether ithey were out drinking with nazis the night before. :)

But seriously, my point was that the mark of difference that defines an underprivileged group can't be evil in its origin.
Theo
Posts: 150
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:25 pm

Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 7:39 pm
Theo wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 4:56 pm
What 'new concept'? Mutants being victims of oppression has been a staple of WFRP since forever and is certainly present in the new 4E material. What would invalidate that?
Mutants can still be victims of oppression, sure, but they can no longer function as metaphors for RW oppressed groups because mutations are now considered evil. It would be akin to sympathizing with someone because they woke up one morning with a swastika on their forehead.
Considered evil by whom? By most characters IN-GAME, sure, but it's also obvious from the rules that they are wrong since anyone, including good-hearted heroes, can get mutations if they're unlucky.
Theo
Posts: 150
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:25 pm

Orin J. wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 9:01 pm
also in 4th insanities are treated the same as a mutation, which is....not a good look. aside from being absolutely AWFUL for developing plots.
Agreed. This is a terrible idea.
Herr Arnulfe
Posts: 134
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:06 am

Theo wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 3:05 am
Considered evil by whom? By most characters IN-GAME, sure, but it's also obvious from the rules that they are wrong since anyone, including good-hearted heroes, can get mutations if they're unlucky.
Mutations are evil according to the rules. If you accumulate enough mutations you either become a Chaos Champion or a Chaos Spawn. The number of mutations one accumulates in Warhammer is an indicator of "total evilness level". Let's look at it from another angle. Name a RW underprivileged group that would be an appropriate analogue for Warhammer mutants.
User avatar
Toby Pilling
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed May 15, 2019 5:14 am

Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Sat Jul 18, 2020 9:16 am
D&D is currently undergoing a major overhaul of its races and that's one of the hot-button issues.
What is D&D doing regarding races? I don't play it but am interested to know.
Whymme
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:18 pm

I have a mixed feeling about the inclusiveness of WFRP. WFRP society is racist, which is on the one hand specifically done to put racism and discrimination under a magnifying glass - dwarfs regularly discriminated in Empire society and forming ghettoes, (Sea) Elven disdain for anything that is not Elvish, the religion wars of Ulric vs Sigmar. Mutants being persecuted because a subset of them who become Chaos spawn. Herr Arnulfe, you are looking for a group that would be an appropriate analogue for mutants - look at how Muslims are regarded in Western society. Because the terrorist attacks since 9/11 have been committed by muslims, and because (at least in Europe) crime statistics show a more than representative part being people from Middle Eastern descent, any person of such descent is seen as guilty by association. WFRP spoofs this in its treatment of mutants. Yes, people with enough mutations my turn into chaos spawn, but it is not a given that everyone will do so. Yet people with mutations are shunned and persecuted as a group - even people who have mutations that are not chaos-related, but can appear in the real world as well. Like having a sixth finger on one's hand, or a strangely formed birthmark.

But where racism is one the one hand put under a magnifying glass to show how silly it is, on the other hand the game implicitly acknowledges that some races are inferior to others, and that some races are inherent evil without ways of redemption. I'm thinking for example of orcs, goblins and skaven. Here WFRP, together with lots of other RPGs of the era, is sending a message that some races are inherently evil and inferior, and that suppression of and violence against these races is a good thing.


As for political views, like Toby's view of Greta Thunberg, it has always been easy for GMs and scenario writers to insert them into the setting of WFRP (as to that, with what's currently going on with Brexit Britain, it amuses me to no end that from first edition on, Albion plays no part in, and has no influence in, the Old World or the Warhammer world as a whole). But that is what those individual GMs and writers add to the setting, and not a given of the setting itself.
People who want to make the opposite point of Toby could introduce a Thunberg clone who runs around trying to tell everyone that Skaven really do exist and form a threat to humanity, and finds out that nobody listens to her. Me, I'm not so interested to score political points within a role playing session with friends.
Whymme
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:18 pm

Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 3:34 am
Theo wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 3:05 am
Considered evil by whom? By most characters IN-GAME, sure, but it's also obvious from the rules that they are wrong since anyone, including good-hearted heroes, can get mutations if they're unlucky.
Mutations are evil according to the rules. If you accumulate enough mutations you either become a Chaos Champion or a Chaos Spawn. The number of mutations one accumulates in Warhammer is an indicator of "total evilness level". Let's look at it from another angle. Name a RW underprivileged group that would be an appropriate analogue for Warhammer mutants.
A bit more on this: As I said, it is not a given that people accumulate enough mutations to flip to the other side. And in official materials there are enough examples of mutants who are not dangerous, and who if anything, deserve protection and sympathy, instead of destruction. Master Lukas Pfandleiher of The Vermillion Pawn, for example, whose chaos mutation is a light case of hay fever, the mutant colony of Sister Astrid von Nimlsheim in The Dying of the Light, or Sister Marianne and her Marienburg Home of Foundlings are a few that I can think of from the top of my head.
Herr Arnulfe
Posts: 134
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:06 am

Toby Pilling wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 6:05 am
What is D&D doing regarding races? I don't play it but am interested to know.
Orcs and Drow are the main ones. I believe the issue with Orcs is that their animal-level Int scores don't justify Half-Orc PCs being anything but the result of rape. So Orc Int scores are being raised among other cultural changes. Personally I would just remove Half-Orcs from D&D altogether, but they're trying to implement solutions that don't require a new edition, just modification of future supplements.

The issue with Drow is that they're evil black-skinned slavers, which just comes off as edgy at best. Even if Gygax didn't intend racist symbolism originally, it's considered offensive in 2020. I don't know what WotC is doing to address Drow.

Personally I think WH witch hunters are a similar case. Robert E Howard might not have intended misogyny with Solomon Kane, but given the general public's association of witch hunts, it's a bad look for videogames etc. to be parading Witch Hunters as one of Warhammer's ironic heroes of Order. There are plenty of other Warhammer archetypes - witch hunters should just be used as shady NPCs IMO.
Herr Arnulfe
Posts: 134
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:06 am

Whymme wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 6:25 am
A bit more on this: As I said, it is not a given that people accumulate enough mutations to flip to the other side. And in official materials there are enough examples of mutants who are not dangerous, and who if anything, deserve protection and sympathy, instead of destruction. Master Lukas Pfandleiher of The Vermillion Pawn, for example, whose chaos mutation is a light case of hay fever, the mutant colony of Sister Astrid von Nimlsheim in The Dying of the Light, or Sister Marianne and her Marienburg Home of Foundlings are a few that I can think of from the top of my head.
In the old days you could pull that off, but not under the current Chaos canon. WFB 8e states specifically that there are two paths for Chaos corruption - either you embrace it and become a Chaos Champion, or you resist it and become a mindless Chaos spawn.
Theo
Posts: 150
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:25 pm

Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 6:31 am
Personally I think WH witch hunters are a similar case. Robert E Howard might not have intended misogyny with Solomon Kane, but given the general public's association of witch hunts, it's a bad look for videogames etc. to be parading Witch Hunters as one of Warhammer's ironic heroes of Order. There are plenty of other Warhammer archetypes - witch hunters should just be used as shady NPCs IMO.
I thought that's what most everyone did. Surely most Witch-hunter NPCs I've seen in any published adventures have ranged from shady over sadistic assholes to utter nutcases. (Admittedly I'm not very familiar with the video games.)

As for Solomon Kane, it's amusing that canonically he's very much not a fan of witch-hunters. "Kane bent above the body, which lay stark in its unnameable mutilation, and he shuddered; a rare thing for him, who had seen the deeds of the Spanish Inquisition and the witch-finders." (from Skulls in the Stars, an early SK story)
Theo
Posts: 150
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:25 pm

Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 6:36 am
Whymme wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 6:25 am
A bit more on this: As I said, it is not a given that people accumulate enough mutations to flip to the other side. And in official materials there are enough examples of mutants who are not dangerous, and who if anything, deserve protection and sympathy, instead of destruction. Master Lukas Pfandleiher of The Vermillion Pawn, for example, whose chaos mutation is a light case of hay fever, the mutant colony of Sister Astrid von Nimlsheim in The Dying of the Light, or Sister Marianne and her Marienburg Home of Foundlings are a few that I can think of from the top of my head.
In the old days you could pull that off, but not under the current Chaos canon. WFB 8e states specifically that there are two paths for Chaos corruption - either you embrace it and become a Chaos Champion, or you resist it and become a mindless Chaos spawn.
I thought we were talking about WFRP (and any edition)? Why feel the need to play according to WFB 8 canon in the rpg?
Herr Arnulfe
Posts: 134
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:06 am

Whymme wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 6:17 am
Herr Arnulfe, you are looking for a group that would be an appropriate analogue for mutants - look at how Muslims are regarded in Western society. Because the terrorist attacks since 9/11 have been committed by muslims, and because (at least in Europe) crime statistics show a more than representative part being people from Middle Eastern descent, any person of such descent is seen as guilty by association. WFRP spoofs this in its treatment of mutants.
There are many reasons why crime rates by Arabs might be higher in Europe which have nothing to do with religion or race. In Canada, crime rates by Arabs are lower which suggests that maybe Europe is just going through the growing pains of admitting so many refugees all at once. Keep in mind Arabic refugees are coming from brutal living conditions in places where atrocities are the norm, and it can take time to adjust. The west has a moral responsibility to deal with the consequences of imperialism IMO. If there were any Arabic WFRP players, I'd be curious if they consider mutants an appropriate analogue or whether perhaps Arabyans would be more appropriate. Now if you're talking specifically about ISIS cultists then I could get onboard with the mutant analogy.
Herr Arnulfe
Posts: 134
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:06 am

Theo wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 6:38 am
I thought we were talking about WFRP (and any edition)? Why feel the need to play according to WFB 8 canon in the rpg?
If it's just a question of playing with your own group of grognards, then obviously you can use whatever setting metaphysics float your boat. I'm talking specifically about using the official canon setting.
Locked