WFRP Social Justice & Representation

For general discussions about WFRP
Herr Arnulfe
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Whymme wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 6:17 am
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.
I assumed (and hope) that Toby was going for a ridiculously ironic parody of right wing extremism as per Sacha Baron Cohen from Who is America?.
Herr Arnulfe
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Theo wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 6:37 am
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)
In the new canon, Witch Hunters are hard men making hard decisions because Chaos is now unambiguously evil. The WFB 8e writeup describes witch hunters accidentally burning innocents, but it's framed in terms of having to break a few eggs to make an omelette. All the major licensed videogames use witch hunters as Empire heroes.
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Totsuzenheni Yukimi
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Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 6:50 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.
Is fourth (or second, or third) edition WFRP's official canon setting eighth edition WFB? (I know first edition WFRP's setting isn't.)
Herr Arnulfe
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totsuzenheni wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 7:58 am
Is fourth edition WFRP's official canon setting eighth edition WFB?
I think 4e grabs a little bit from everywhere but avoids contradicting the official 8e setting.
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Totsuzenheni Yukimi
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Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 8:03 am
totsuzenheni wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 7:58 am
Is fourth edition WFRP's official canon setting eighth edition WFB?
I think 4e grabs a little bit from everywhere but avoids contradicting the official 8e setting.
That's not the same as eighth edition WFB being fourth (or first, or second, or third) edition WFRP canon though, is it? I'm not even sure there is a fourth edition WFRP canon as such. An RPG's canon is more open to 'interpretation' than other mediums, but quite apart from that, from my (admittedly, often cursory) reading of fourth edition WFRP, i seem to recall that it is full of options and 'it's your game' notes when it comes to rules and background, but then i have been coming at fourth edition WFRP with a mindset that would lend itself to that kind of reading.
Wolf
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Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 6:48 am
. 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.
I’m not sure I’d look for any direct parallels in terms of the treatment of mutants in WFRP. That’s not the way the game works, in my view. In the same way that dwarfs have represented fantasy Scots, Yorkshire men, the Jewish people, Vikings and Assyrians, at different times and in different ways, within the Warhammer world, as well as being Tolkienesque dwarves, mutants can represent at different times various disadvantaged groups, fairly literal lepers or those who bear the outward marks of inner corruption, depending on the needs of the particular story you are telling. I can’t see why this is an issue, personally.

Similarly, if GW currently paints witchhunters as necessary protectors, it doesn’t stop the fact that most people will immediately think of them in terms of Vincent Price in Witchfinder General and the long history of portraying them as deeply dangerous crazed zealots in Warhammer. Inevitably, GW’s portrayal will switch again, when they get round to looking at the world again.

Finally, on another issue, I think the point that Toby Pilling was making was about using humour to look at difficult issues. Perhaps senses of humour are different but I don’t see that making jokes about life requires anyone to take particular position on the real world. We can be in favour of things and still recognise humour that might result from it, can’t we? Much of Warhammer involves satire, which by its very nature is apolitical, pricking pomposity, pointing out absurdity, where ever it occurs. It seems to me this is hardwired into what gave WFRP its unique feel.
Herr Arnulfe
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totsuzenheni wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 8:21 am
That's not the same as eighth edition WFB being fourth (or first, or second, or third) edition WFRP canon though, is it? I'm not even sure there is a fourth edition WFRP canon as such. An RPG's canon is more open to 'interpretation' than other mediums, but quite apart from that, from my (admittedly, often cursory) reading of fourth edition WFRP, i seem to recall that it is full of options and 'it's your game' notes when it comes to rules and background, but then i have been coming at fourth edition WFRP with a mindset that would lend itself to that kind of reading.
It's actually been around 11 years since Chaos was revamped. So players coming to WFRP from Total War etc. will be viewing the game through that lens. Personally I found Chaos was generally handled poorly in previous WFRP (or avoided altogether) because "shades of grey" is so hard to get right. Most of the nuance that's been lost with the new "dumbed down" version of Chaos is largely hypothetical IMO.
Wolf
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Robin wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 1:34 am
One thing that would help, I think, would be actively asking some women, some non-white people and some trans folk to write for the game. That's perhaps the best way to see a bit more diversity in the actual material. I was always sad that Server Goddess didn't have time to post more on StS and that there were, apparently, no other women posting to the group.

Regards,

Robin
I would agree.

I wonder what the demographic of people posting here is. Probably not particularly diverse.
Herr Arnulfe
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Wolf wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 8:38 am
I’m not sure I’d look for any direct parallels in terms of the treatment of mutants in WFRP. That’s not the way the game works, in my view. In the same way that dwarfs have represented fantasy Scots, Yorkshire men, the Jewish people, Vikings and Assyrians, at different times and in different ways, within the Warhammer world, as well as being Tolkienesque dwarves, mutants can represent at different times various disadvantaged groups, fairly literal lepers or those who bear the outward marks of inner corruption, depending on the needs of the particular story you are telling. I can’t see why this is an issue, personally.

Similarly, if GW currently paints witchhunters as necessary protectors, it doesn’t stop the fact that most people will immediately think of them in terms of Vincent Price in Witchfinder General and the long history of portraying them as deeply dangerous crazed zealots in Warhammer. Inevitably, GW’s portrayal will switch again, when they get round to looking at the world again.

Finally, on another issue, I think the point that Toby Pilling was making was about using humour to look at difficult issues. Perhaps senses of humour are different but I don’t see that making jokes about life requires anyone to take particular position on the real world. We can be in favour of things and still recognise humour that might result from it, can’t we? Much of Warhammer involves satire, which by its very nature is apolitical, pricking pomposity, pointing out absurdity, where ever it occurs. It seems to me this is hardwired into what gave WFRP its unique feel.
As mentioned earlier, only grognards will appreciate the nuanced 80's portrayal of mutants and witch hunters. I don't think grognards are so inflexible that they can't update their understanding of the Warhammer setting though. Anyway, my basic point is the same regardless of era. Witch hunting has dodgy connotations to many women, and mutants are a weak analogue for the underprivileged that's rarely been used well in WFRP.

Only Toby can say what his intent was. I'm all for poking fun at political positions of all stripes, as long as you're not by extension supporting political positions that are based on hurting or killing people.
Wolf
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Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:40 pm
Agreed, I'd probably avoid dark humour and mental illness for transgender NPCs in 2020. Although I laughed at the crossdressing goblin in TEW and found the gender-repressed murderer in Beasts in Velvet compelling, the 80's was a different time. However, I don't think a GM or writer needs to be gay or trans themselves in order to feature gay or trans characters in their stories.
I recognise its possibly my total lack of awareness or misremembering, but isn’t the humour of the goblin dressed in women’s clothing to do with the typical assumptions that orcs and goblins were armour, leather, spiky studs and nothing else (can goblins cross dress even? Do they have a sex?) The joke seems to have more to do with undermining cliched depictions of goblins, than suggesting it is in some way wrong for male goblin characters to dress in a particular way.

And wasn’t the point in Beasts in Velvet that a character had been forced to act as someone of a different sex against their will. The kink in their character comes about because they are not able to express who they feel they are but a pushed into a role and an existence that doesn’t reflect who they are, which seems to me the precise opposite of implying that those who wish to reassign their gender to one that they feel more comfortable with have the problem. I can see why these issues might need sensitivity, but I don’t see why the book leads to a “it was a different time” dismissal.
Whymme
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Most of the people in my group have little to no knowledge of the WFB background - in any form. The same in groups that I've tried to start (but which didn't last more than a few sessions) previously. Therefore, IMX, I'm not so worried about changes in the WFB background.
I don't know the general case, but my experience shows that many people who start or join a WFRP campaign don't have a WFB background. And therefore what happens in WFB is only of limited interest to WFRP.

Oh, and in my WFRP world there is no such thing as a griffon-riding emperor :-)
Herr Arnulfe
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Wolf wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:04 am
I recognise its possibly my total lack of awareness or misremembering, but isn’t the humour of the goblin dressed in women’s clothing to do with the typical assumptions that orcs and goblins were armour, leather, spiky studs and nothing else (can goblins cross dress even? Do they have a sex?) The joke seems to have more to do with undermining cliched depictions of goblins, than suggesting it is in some way wrong for male goblin characters to dress in a particular way.

And wasn’t the point in Beasts in Velvet that a character had been forced to act as someone of a different sex against their will. The kink in their character comes about because they are not able to express who they feel they are but a pushed into a role and an existence that doesn’t reflect who they are, which seems to me the precise opposite of implying that those who wish to reassign their gender to one that they feel more comfortable with have the problem. I can see why these issues might need sensitivity, but I don’t see why the book leads to a “it was a different time” dismissal.
The crossdressing goblin wasn't especially problematic, because like you said goblinoid gender is ambiguous anyway. However, it typified the 80's mindset of crossdressers being comical.

The Beasts in Velvet character is slightly more problematic, because it portrays someone being driven to psychosis purely by denial of their binary birth-sex. In the modern world, a writer should contextualize the character's psychology to show that her female emotional traits were dominant, and that it was actually those that were being suppressed.
Whymme
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Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 6:48 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.
Where I had said 'Middle Eastern', I should perhaps have specified; over here it's mostly people with roots in Morocco and Turkey, not so much Araby.
That being said, the point I was trying to make (and in which I apparently failed) is that all people of Middle Eastern descent are being painted with the same broad brush - of being related to terrorists and criminals, and therefore untrustworthy (and some say, not belonging in The Netherlands). In the same way as in the Empire, all mutants are considered chaos adepts who have to be purged, even if only a subset of them will eventually become chaos spawn.

Oh, and Herr Arnulfe, this has nothing to do with the influx of refugees. Most people of Middle Eastern descent (in the broadest way possible) are second generation; their parents came to Western Europe in the sixties and seventies, and those people were born here and have Dutch passports. I'm quite certain that the reason they're being discriminated against has very little to do with brutal living conditions and atrocities being the norm in the place where they were born.
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Totsuzenheni Yukimi
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Wolf wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 8:48 am
I wonder what the demographic of people posting here is. Probably not particularly diverse.
I have few freckles here and there.
Robin wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 1:34 am
One thing that would help, I think, would be actively asking some women, some non-white people and some trans folk to write for the game. That's perhaps the best way to see a bit more diversity in the actual material. I was always sad that Server Goddess didn't have time to post more on StS and that there were, apparently, no other women posting to the group.

Regards,

Robin
I would think that it could potentially give the material greater breadth and depth, as well as make it more interesting to many, to have the writers hail from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. To be clear though, i wouldn't want to impose upon someone a duty of representation of their supposed identit(y/ies), both because i think that that would be something of an unjust imposition, and also at the same time because i don't think that being identified, or identifying as or with a given group necessarily endows someone with insight into the experience of that group, in whole, nor even perhaps in part. I think any breadth, depth and interest, such as it may be, would come from the writers' more diverse, individual backgrounds and their different experiences, their different areas of expertise and interest, and their differing viewpoints, rather than their identity in and of itself.
Wolf
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Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:19 am

The Beasts in Velvet character is slightly more problematic, because it portrays someone being driven to psychosis purely by denial of their binary birth-sex. In the modern world, a writer should contextualize the character's psychology to show that her female emotional traits were dominant, and that it was actually those that were being suppressed.
I have to honest, it’s so long since I read it I don’t honestly recollect the full extent of any contextualisation. In memory it seems pretty clear, but that’s possibly no longer reflective of the actual text!

I suspect that part of the issue might be that it was impossible to read this book at the start of the 90s (when first published) and not read it in the light of Ian Bank’s The Wasp Factory. I wonder what people make of that book these days?
Herr Arnulfe
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totsuzenheni wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:36 am
I would think that it could potentially give the material greater breadth and depth, as well as make it more interesting to many, to have the writers hail from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. To be clear though, i wouldn't want to impose upon someone a duty of representation of their supposed identit(y/ies), both because i think that that would be something of an unjust imposition, and also at the same time because i don't think that being identified, or identifying as or with a given group necessarily endows someone with insight into the experience of that group, in whole, nor even perhaps in part. I think any breadth, depth and interest, such as it may be, would come from the writers' more diverse, individual backgrounds and their different experiences, their different areas of expertise and interest, and their differing viewpoints, rather than their identity in and of itself.
Writers of different genders and races might encourage more material that actually deals with those groups. Privileged white males tend to be wary of writing about non-privileged groups, so the setting material ends up looking somewhat homogenous.
Herr Arnulfe
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Whymme wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:28 am
Where I had said 'Middle Eastern', I should perhaps have specified; over here it's mostly people with roots in Morocco and Turkey, not so much Araby.
That being said, the point I was trying to make (and in which I apparently failed) is that all people of Middle Eastern descent are being painted with the same broad brush - of being related to terrorists and criminals, and therefore untrustworthy (and some say, not belonging in The Netherlands). In the same way as in the Empire, all mutants are considered chaos adepts who have to be purged, even if only a subset of them will eventually become chaos spawn.
Araby is a catch-all for North Africa specifically, and Muslims in general. The Middle East in Warhammer was wiped out by Greenskins and Nagash long ago. Would you propose using white mutants as analogues for Arabs, or Arabyan mutants?
Whymme
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Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 10:10 am
Whymme wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:28 am
Where I had said 'Middle Eastern', I should perhaps have specified; over here it's mostly people with roots in Morocco and Turkey, not so much Araby.
That being said, the point I was trying to make (and in which I apparently failed) is that all people of Middle Eastern descent are being painted with the same broad brush - of being related to terrorists and criminals, and therefore untrustworthy (and some say, not belonging in The Netherlands). In the same way as in the Empire, all mutants are considered chaos adepts who have to be purged, even if only a subset of them will eventually become chaos spawn.
Araby is a catch-all for North Africa specifically, and Muslims in general. The Middle East in Warhammer was wiped out by Greenskins and Nagash long ago. Would you propose using white mutants as analogues for Arabs, or Arabyan mutants?
When you said that you were looking for an equivalent in this world for mutants, who are persecuted, shunned and purged, I thought that you were looking for groups with a similar sociological position, not an ethnological one. Where in the Warhammer world mutants are thought to inevitably grow out to be chaos scum, some people over here think that people from Middle Eastern descent all are criminals and terrorists, and if they aren't yet, they will become so.
Or another analogy, just like in WFRP the only good mutant is a dead mutant, in the Old West (some parts, and some times, at least), the only good injun was a dead injun.
Herr Arnulfe
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Whymme wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 10:27 am
When you said that you were looking for an equivalent in this world for mutants, who are persecuted, shunned and purged, I thought that you were looking for groups with a similar sociological position, not an ethnological one. Where in the Warhammer world mutants are thought to inevitably grow out to be chaos scum, some people over here think that people from Middle Eastern descent all are criminals and terrorists, and if they aren't yet, they will become so.
Or another analogy, just like in WFRP the only good mutant is a dead mutant, in the Old West (some parts, and some times, at least), the only good injun was a dead injun.
Which further illustrates my point that mutants are lousy devices for social commentary in WFRP. You can use actual Arabyans, and the WH setting has built-in anti-Arabyan prejudice so you just have to make up the NPCs and plots.
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Orin J.
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Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 10:10 am
Whymme wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:28 am
Where I had said 'Middle Eastern', I should perhaps have specified; over here it's mostly people with roots in Morocco and Turkey, not so much Araby.
That being said, the point I was trying to make (and in which I apparently failed) is that all people of Middle Eastern descent are being painted with the same broad brush - of being related to terrorists and criminals, and therefore untrustworthy (and some say, not belonging in The Netherlands). In the same way as in the Empire, all mutants are considered chaos adepts who have to be purged, even if only a subset of them will eventually become chaos spawn.
Araby is a catch-all for North Africa specifically, and Muslims in general. The Middle East in Warhammer was wiped out by Greenskins and Nagash long ago. Would you propose using white mutants as analogues for Arabs, or Arabyan mutants?
araby is geographically the area of north africa but is culturally explictly turkish. a lot of cultural mores from the real world were relocated and a few just left out (there's no judism, since they were all zombie'd by nagash before the religion could actually get started, for example)
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