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Debate: Something for the gaymers

2

Comments

  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    edited August 2015
    LiamEsler said:

    Hexxat is made MORE interesting by her lesbian-ness, not less. It is a core aspect of her character, and her romance reflects that, but it's certainly not her PRIMARY character trait.

    I would disagree here, but only because other traits aren't pronounced as clearly - her interest in women is one of the very few things about her that isn't "mysterious" or contradictory. Consequently, it's the thing everyone pays a disproportionate amount of attention to.

    In point of fact, though, Hexxat being a lesbian is what enables the absolute best part of her story: her relationship with Viconia. You couldn't have had that whole complex dynamic play out if she'd been straight, because it wouldn't work with Korgan, Edwin or Dorn (the latter of whom, by the way, is really a perfect example of how to do this right: his bisexuality is expressed as an aspect of his personality, not a trope, and it's a juxtaposition you never see in traditional D&D narratives which makes him all the more interesting).

    Nonnahswriter
  • bob_vengbob_veng Member Posts: 2,303
    i find it upsetting that writers sometimes think they've made their creation more interesting by giving it a gay veneer

    Flashburn
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    bob_veng said:

    i find it upsetting that writers sometimes think they've made their creation more interesting by giving it a gay veneer

    But, see, that's exactly where you're missing the point. You're looking at these characters as if they were designed and written with all their component parts, and then got a "gay veneer" as if it were a coat of paint or something. That's not how it works.

    And setting that aside? They are more interesting! If Dorn were straight, he'd be another in a long line of villainous half-orcs. There's no shortage of those in Forgotten Realms stories. But as far as I know, no one's ever written a bisexual half-orc before. Not Salvatore, not Greenwood, not Byers or Kemp or Gross. So that does set him apart, and draws interest, where he might otherwise be dismissed as generic.

    Nonnahswriter
  • NaveenNaveen Member Posts: 81
    LiamEsler said:



    No characters' sexuality should be their defining characteristic, it's both unrealistic and boring (unless there's a very good character or plot specific reason to have it that way). Adding diversity to characters only makes them more interesting and multi-faceted, not more boring.

    Hexxat is made MORE interesting by her lesbian-ness, not less. It is a core aspect of her character, and her romance reflects that, but it's certainly not her PRIMARY character trait.

    That's not how writing works. Perhaps while doing fanfiction, but not working 12 hours a day in a stressful environment that demands 10 pages a day and then, at the same time, that you try not to offend every possible sensibility while praising diversity.

    One does not just create an amazing character and then say: "to all that, I'll add lesbianess and then she will be better". Actually, she would be exactly the same, you just changed something, you didn't add anything. DIVERSE means CHANGING, not ADDING. Making someone gay doesn't make him better. At best is curious or different, a surprise that last... 5 seconds. No, unfortunately it's the other way around, one begins with lesbianess, and then you spend the rest of the month trying to think how to write it well while at the same evading the minefield you are entering. And then you end with a vampire fanfiction with a plot that doesn't make sense. And that energy and work subtracts a lot from you... Or you end as a writer designing a pansexual crew but you forget to write an ending that makes sense (Mass Effect 3).


    PS: Your job as a writer is not "to represent our audience". That's corporate talk.

    SionIViKrivetkoFlashburnGodKaiserHell
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    Naveen said:

    PS: Your job as a writer is not "to represent our audience". That's corporate talk.

    If you think every single person who ever put pen to paper hasn't at least spared a thought for potential audiences, you're dead wrong.

    DeeNonnahswriterAyiekie
  • iKrivetkoiKrivetko Member Posts: 934
    shawne said:

    bob_veng said:

    i find it upsetting that writers sometimes think they've made their creation more interesting by giving it a gay veneer

    But, see, that's exactly where you're missing the point. You're looking at these characters as if they were designed and written with all their component parts, and then got a "gay veneer" as if it were a coat of paint or something. That's not how it works.

    And setting that aside? They are more interesting! If Dorn were straight, he'd be another in a long line of villainous half-orcs. There's no shortage of those in Forgotten Realms stories. But as far as I know, no one's ever written a bisexual half-orc before. Not Salvatore, not Greenwood, not Byers or Kemp or Gross. So that does set him apart, and draws interest, where he might otherwise be dismissed as generic.
    What sets Dorn apart is that he has a divine patron from the very hells, and that he travels to the bloody heavens and rips them to shreds, not the fact that he enjoys the occasional prostate massage.

    bob_vengSionIV
  • NaveenNaveen Member Posts: 81
    edited August 2015
    The original quote was from LiamEsler: "and we need to represent our audiences better. Period." That's corporate talk.

    But yes, I've given a thought about that. And this is what happened:

    I tried to write an important female character, a romantic interest for a male protagonist. I'd had no problem with the man, but then there were problems with the woman: ¿What If he needs to rescue her? Oh, "that's damsel in distress". ¿Is she atractive? "Sexual object". Is she flirty? "You make her a slut". She does not like sex that much or is frigid? "Well, you certainly have a problem with women". Is she loyal to him? "Secondary character, merely a romantic interest." Is she raped? Oh, god, I don't want to even enter there (though the male actually suffered massive abuse and nobody gives a shit). Does she suffer, physically, is she beaten, tortured, etc.? "Sadist. You enjoy doing that." Is she intelligent? "Good!". Is she dumb? "Stereotipying". Does she conform to ancient gender-roles? Shitstorm approaching, you are a misogynist, racist, bigot...

    I spent hours thinking about that and then I realized I haven't actually written much... and what I had written was crap because I was stepping on broken glass. I was merely afraid of potential social commissaires. So I said: "Screw that." I erased the woman and made the man an homosexual but in, in practical terms, an asexual warrior. Then I had no problem at all.


    FlashburnGodKaiserHellHalfOrcBeastmaster
  • CaloNordCaloNord Member Posts: 1,807
    To the OP, yes. Of course they should. They are people just as you and I are. I don't see why some people consider other sexualities as being 'wrong' or as our government put it 'Decadent' and blamed gay marriage for affecting our cattle trade with Asia. I do think they have to be written with it not as the sole point of their purpose. They really should be treated as just another character, as many others have stated as well.

    On a side note, am I the ONLY person who doesn't have issue with Hexxat? I like her just fine, she's not my favourite but If I don't like her I'd just leave her in the tomb and choose one of the other 20 odd NPC's I have to choose from.

    JuliusBorisov
  • NaveenNaveen Member Posts: 81
    Dee said:

    Maybe this time your strapping hetero man is transgender, in his fifties. How does that change the story you're trying to tell?

    Well, that depends, do you want it to be believable or not? If the answer is yes, then it changes A LOT. The whole world changes. Assume BG world. Do you think that, for example, Korgan or Edwin will not taunt him/her? Do you think Jan Jansen will not make up any raunchy story about aunt Brunilda and her "wood"? Viconia will probably kill herself laughing or be extremely offended ("A male who thinks himself a woman??!"). I'm sure Keldorn, a traditionalist and a family man, will say something. Do you think nobody will react differently to your presence, considering that in BG many commoners already have a low opinion of normal adventurers? You see, that's part of the problem, diversity is included without thinking if the fictional world is ready for it or how it will react, which means that the whole world now revolves around that particular character or the world is broken for one character's sake. Do they react in a believable way? Great! Though be prepared since many people will be offended by your realistic representation since they want LGTB people, but not the reactions to them. They want those fictional worlds even more liberal than our own.

    Now, it's not that important if it is not believable? OK, but then you enter into Mary Sue or Poochie* territory. Odd things happen then.

    And this is related to my problem with this issue: it may lower standards, and it may force fictional worlds to conform to our own desires even if that does not make sense in that particular world. And two posters here have said that just being diverse make the characters more interesting or better, that it "adds" something. Nobody asked "In what world I'm trying to insert that?". Hence my fears, it may become a way of gaining "free" quality. I'm not saying you shouldn't write them, just think a lot about what you are doing because you may be sacrificing a lot just to show the world that you are open minded.

    *"All the other character should be asking all the time 'Wheres Poochie'?" Simpson reference.

    SionIVFlashburnGodKaiserHell
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    You're bringing in a lot of your own baggage here - Ed Greenwood has said that the people of the Forgotten Realms are a lot more tolerant of matters pertaining to gender and sexuality than our world, and that's the Word of Ao right there. So no, characters would not react the way you assume they would.

    DeeCaloNordNonnahswriterAyiekie
  • DeeDee Member Posts: 10,447
    edited August 2015
    My point is precisely that it changes a lot, but as @shawne said, that change doesn't necessarily have to mean negative or antagonistic behavior from the other characters in the world. If you're writing in a world you've created, you can shape that behavior in a way that's believable within the confines of your world and also allows your diverse characters to feel welcome and included.

    Forgotten Realms happens to be one such world where sexual and gender identity are not the bugaboos that they are in many parts of the real world. Heck, Elminster (the iconic wizard of Faerun) is a gender-swapping bisexual, and no one ever says anything negative about it. What you might find, instead, is gentle ribbing about "Hey remember that time when you turned into a woman?"

    So our heterosexual transgender 50-something adventurer might entertain some questions and confusions from the other characters who may not be aware of that character's gender identity, or they might make some insensitive suggestions about "wearing a cursed belt to make you a proper man", and then you can deal with those conversations in a meaningful way that adds to the depth of the character. Korgan would probably make more antagonistic remarks, because hey, he's a jerk, and then Mazzy would probably come to our character's aid to defend him (assuming he couldn't aptly defend himself).

    Again, if you're starting the creative process from the perspective of making your character more diverse, you can answer all those niggling questions about what it means for the rest of the story as you're writing it; you don't have to go back at the end and try to retrofit everything.

    (To wit: you wouldn't take Garrick and make him gay, because that obviously changes who he is, especially in the context of where you find him in Baldur's Gate II. But you can certainly start the process of making a new character by saying "What if this character were gay; how might that change this character's outlook and narrative?" In some cases, it might not change at all. And that's okay too.)

    CaloNordJuliusBorisovNonnahswriterAyiekie
  • NaveenNaveen Member Posts: 81
    edited August 2015
    shawne said:

    You're bringing in a lot of your own baggage here - Ed Greenwood has said that the people of the Forgotten Realms are a lot more tolerant of matters pertaining to gender and sexuality than our world

    Gee, we could have begun the discussion with THAT. Would have helped a little.

    ...

    I've read Ed answer (this one https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/8384/sexuality-in-the-realms-answer-from-ed-greenwood/p1), doesn't say exactly that (the "more tolerant" anyway, it actually says there are some prejudices and that it varies a lot) but I'll consider the issue closed then. Forgotten Realms seems to follow some pagan customs, which makes sense given their polytheistic nature. But it's curious, I'd never had guessed that reading FR novels or its video games. They all smell medieval to the core.

    In any event, my warning still applies as a general rule.

    By the way, thank you for saying and deducing I must have a "lot" of baggage, and not just proclaiming I'm a prejudiced person or just that I didn't know that information. It's an improvement.

    Flashburn
  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,456
    @shawne The question isn't just about FR, but in general.

  • LadyRhianLadyRhian Member Posts: 14,694
    @Naveen Given the nature of magic in the Realms, it's also possible that the other characters wouldn't know the main character is a transsexual until they were told by CHARNAME that this had happened. Some of them might go the way of assuming that there is a way to "fix" the character (Did you know there is a magic item belt that can change your sex permanently?- a conversation like that). Neera might assume it is some kind of Wild magic gone awry (because as we all know, there *is* a wild magic surge that can do just that!) Some might assume it's a curse that needs to be broken, or whatnot…

    And some characters might be like, okay. We've fought together and risked our lives together, we've saved each other's lives, and hey, I like you, so you're not that different from anyone else. And yeah, some might have our world-style "typical" reactions towards the CHARNAME. But not all of them. And not all of them come from the same mindset of "our" world. Drow society, Gnomish society, Elvish society… all of them might have very different reactions indeed. And you also have to remember… Polymorph Self AND Polymorph Other… cover a lot of stuff. In a world where adventurers have those spells, anything is possible.

    Here, you are being constrained by a parochial mindset to view things in just one way, that is to say, in the way that our world views things among a repressive subset of humanity. I mean, lets face it… is being a transgendered or transexual character any more ridiculous than, "I'm the child of a Dead God"?

    @shawne Thanks for bringing that up. I being the one who actually posted that in the thread. Yes, there is a place in the Candlekeep Forums where you can ask Questions of Ed Greenwood, and I asked him that question a few years ago. The upshot was… in more rural places, the attitudes are more parochial, being closer to our world. But in any place on a caravan route, or any larger settlement (towns and big cities) will have a more relaxed attitude towards that kind of "Sexual adventuring". Also festhalls in the Realms (equivalent to our houses of prostitution/love hotels) have sigils/symbols/signs on their placard that show what sort of stuff can go on, all the way to Human/Nonhuman (with the implication being to go at least as far as lizard men and the like). Likewise Inns and Taverns will show images of a bed and a tankard, at the very least, to ensure that even people who can't read words, will know what is offered within.

    shawneNonnahswriter[Deleted User]
  • LadyRhianLadyRhian Member Posts: 14,694
    I'd like to add the fact that "EDWINA" gets so much grief from the other characters is because Edwin is a Arsehole. Here is this very annoying, unlikeable character (one who is always touting his superiority) who planned to use this scroll to become something like a god, overreaches himself and winds up slapped with a cosmic comeuppance for his "crime"/ambitions. That's why they are poking at him, not the "Got turned into a woman" part.

    shawneNonnahswriter[Deleted User]meagloth
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    Not only that, but it's not even the transformation itself that they find amusing, it's Edwin's reaction. They're laughing at the fact that he's horrified.

    NonnahswriterLadyRhian
  • DeeDee Member Posts: 10,447
    Ever so slightly tangential, but this morning I wrote about this topic in my blog. I'll paste a link here, although much of what I say in it I've also said in this thread: http://friendlyotter.blogspot.com/2015/08/rethinking-story-diversity-problem.html

    FrozenCells
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    edited August 2015
    CaloNord said:

    On a side note, am I the ONLY person who doesn't have issue with Hexxat? I like her just fine, she's not my favourite but If I don't like her I'd just leave her in the tomb and choose one of the other 20 odd NPC's I have to choose from.

    Speaking only for myself, my issue (and the reason it's so difficult for me to just let it go) is that I really, really want to enjoy her - she's the thief Evil players waited over a decade for, her VA is great, she had so much potential, and almost all of that potential went to waste because of sloppy storytelling. With a bit more effort and polish, Hexxat could've been the breakout star of BG2:EE. That's why it sticks in my craw so much more than if she'd just been another Saerileth, because then I could've written her off completely and not looked back.

    (It doesn't help that there are no mod alternatives for that particular role besides Valen, who isn't compatible with BG2:EE and would be in dire need of a tune-up even if she were.)

    Post edited by shawne on
    NonnahswriterFlashburn
  • NaveenNaveen Member Posts: 81
    LadyRhian said:

    @Naveen Given the nature of magic in the Realms [...] Some of them might go the way of assuming that there is a way to "fix" the character [...]. Neera might assume it is some kind of Wild magic gone awry (because as we all know, there *is* a wild magic surge that can do just that!) Some might assume it's a curse that needs to be broken, or whatnot…

    [...] And you also have to remember… Polymorph Self AND Polymorph Other… cover a lot of stuff. In a world where adventurers have those spells, anything is possible.

    If everything is possible then this conversation is meaningless, at least if you want it to be serious... and I always assumed LGTB wanted to be represented in a believable and serious way. Let's get something straight, because I think there is confusion and some people actually don't know what transgender means (though they need to defend it). Transgender is an umbrella term. It includes people who don't identify with their gender assigned by the sex they were born. It actually has nothing to do with what you find arousing. So, you selected Female for your Charname but you roleplay as a male and want to be considered as such by society, which is JanJansen-level hilarious from a rp perspective, but silly from a game mechanisms pow. And "fix" doesn't need the " " nor would it be an insult, if he IS transgender, and a strong one (and I assume we are talking about them, not about transvestites or similar), the cursed belt actually fixes him/her and will make him/her happy. It's the handwaving and magical equivalent of instantaneous sex reassignment surgery, and without hormone therapy. In fact, Edwina is a functional (though cursed) transgender, since s(he) says he hates that body and wants to change it.

    But, seriously, can anyone see this as "serious" npc story (with drama and all) or, worse, romance? I mean, really, it's worse than Aerie lost wings (Regeneration? Wish? She can actually cast both). In a world where this kind of thing can be fixed easily and can actually happen as humorous accidents or even as conscious curses, it is even doubtful there is a need for "transgender" as a word. I'd probably be laughing myself to death if a D&D npc told me he actually identifies with and wants to be a woman: "Here, there is a potion for you for this thing you have. You can buy them at the Waukeen's Promenade". And then I'll put on her the cursed belt, just to mess with her again. And then, If I had to romance... him or her, what exactly am I romancing? Should the writers do a romances line for every possible reassigned sex or gradation of transgenderism (with or without desire for sex reassignment), remembering that the transgender can actually be hetero, bi, homosexual, asexual or god knows what? Now, in low-magical setting and more controlled environment... I could agree, but in FR, now that I think about it... it's silly, the transgender npc would be the butt of all jokes.

    FlashburnGodKaiserHell
  • DeeDee Member Posts: 10,447
    There's plenty of story reasons why a transgender character in the Forgotten Realms would be unable to change their sex; there might not be potions of gender alteration just lying about or available for sale--or if they are, they might be prohibitively expensive, or their effects might only be temporary. The cursed belt of Masculinity/Femininity is at best a temporary solution as well, since the wearer is forced to wear the belt forever if they want to keep the change. There is no spell in Baldur's Gate that alters the target's gender, so magic isn't an option for an NPC in the context of a video game. A transgender character might also be opposed to the use of magic to alter their state for various reasons (maybe their family was killed by mages, maybe they simply don't trust the spell to work as advertised, or--again--maybe it's simply too expensive for them to afford it).

    So I don't think a transgender character's plight would be cause for a laugh, even in a high-magic setting like Forgotten Realms. Edwin's predicament is a special case, but I actually think a transgender character seeing him in that situation would be likely to take pity on him, having been in a similar situation for their entire life instead of a few days. Elminster spends years as a woman before Mystra decides to change him back. There are actually fewer solutions to the transgender problem in Forgotten Realms than there are to the "now I'm dead" problem. At least there you can go to a priest and be raised or resurrected.

    Ayiekie
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    @Naveen: Again, that's how you see it. Other players wouldn't necessarily ask the kind of questions you seem to think are inherent to the premise, or feel the way you do about how D&D characters would or would not react in that situation by default. If this is a subject you can't approach without constantly pointing out how silly/ridiculous/hilarious you find it, then leave it be.

  • NaveenNaveen Member Posts: 81
    shawne said:

    @Naveen: Again, that's how you see it. Other players wouldn't necessarily ask the kind of questions you seem to think are inherent to the premise, or feel the way you do about how D&D characters would or would not react in that situation by default. If this is a subject you can't approach without constantly pointing out how silly/ridiculous/hilarious you find it, then leave it be.

    ...

    Bah, who care anyway. I'll leave it be, then.

    GodKaiserHell
  • LadyRhianLadyRhian Member Posts: 14,694
    @Naveen Actually, as per Pen and Paper rules, the belt of sex change lasts forever. The only way to remove it permanently is with Remove Curse (the belt, that is. By which I mean that you can take it off, but it always reappears on your body in short order, and at those moments, even if it isn't physically on you, the curse still exists. (I mean, think of how horrible it would be to be stuck wearing the same pair of pants *forever*! Or be unable to take them off to use the privy/bath/whatever.).

    Transgenderism/Transsexualism and Crossdressing are totally different things. I have a friend who is trans and went through with sex reassignment surgery. She is now a woman, and she is still attracted to women. So yes, I do know what it is, thanks!

    As for Aerie, you first get her at 8th (or so) level. At that time, she can cast neither spell. Both spells are prohibitively expensive in the Realms (DMG 1e posits something like 50-75K gold pieces just for the Regeneration spell). That's a LOT of money that most people don't have. And then let's face the fact that you need an extremely high level Priest/Priestess to cast the spell. Most high level clerics who run a church, even in a big city, aren't high-enough level to cast that spell. Wish is even harder. In the pen and paper game, every casting takes 3 (or possibly 5) years off your life. To get the wizard to cast that, you are going to have to compensate the Wizard (AND HOW!) to get them to cast that spell for you. Assuming you can even get the attention of someone that powerful.

    Yes, later on, Aerie can cast the spells herself, but by that time, maybe she is holding on to her lack of wings for a different reason (psychological).

    You keep bucking up and wanting to stay in your parochial mindset when I am pointing out to you that there are possibilities that you have not considered and, apparently, don't want to even think about. Maybe Jan, instead of finding this hilarious, has someone in his huge extended family who went through the same experience and has a story about how Cousin Grisselda wanted to be a man, and ended up beating a lot of men at some task and showed them the old what-for despite them being sure that no mere woman could beat *them*! And now she's known as "Uncle Gris" and perfectly happy, while those "Uncle Gris" beat went off crying like babies with their bottoms spanked. And Uncle Gris heads the family in one village…. (And so on). This is at least as likely as your scenario. And Jan doesn't just poke fun at people. He pokes fun at people who are self-righteous, who judge themselves as better than others, and essentially sticks up for the little guy (so to speak) when others are being wrongly judged and/or oppressed. In other words, he'd be more against the people poking at the transgendered character, than joining in to poke fun at them. In my opinion, anyway.

  • The user and all related content has been deleted.

    NonnahswriterronaldoJuliusBorisovBelgarathMTH
  • ShadowHunterShadowHunter Member Posts: 143
    And yet again I'm surprised how open-minded and willing to talk about anything people are on this forum.

    I would love to see more LGBQT characters, though it should be balanced and realistic, like 3 out of 10 seems to represent reality pretty good in my opinion.

    After reading this thread I realised that I never payed attention to the fact that practically no one in your party is rude to Hexxat or Dorn for their sexual orientation. And I like that, people in your party dont care about who the other members sleep with or how they identify. They judge their party members by their actions, believes, personality and so on and not about something they cant change anyway. That's how it should be in real life too.

    JuliusBorisovBelgarathMTH
  • FlashburnFlashburn Member Posts: 1,826
    And so with my post, the Oppression Olympics began in earnest...

    It is stifling to not give my honest opinion about this lest I make an enemy of anyone but I disagree with the majority of this thread. Then again, its not a debate without an opposing side, is it?

  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    edited August 2015
    Using terms like "Oppression Olympics" doesn't do much for credibility, that's for sure.

    DeeNonnahswriterronaldoAyiekie
  • FrozenCellsFrozenCells Member Posts: 385
    Flashburn said:

    And so with my post, the Oppression Olympics began in earnest...

    It is stifling to not give my honest opinion about this lest I make an enemy of anyone but I disagree with the majority of this thread. Then again, its not a debate without an opposing side, is it?

    I hope you understand why people get so hostile about that kind of opinion? If not giving your opinion on an internet thread is "stifling", try being LGBT irl! Unfortunately, when people are laying into you for your opinion, they're forgetting that being friendly and fostering understanding is a much better way to change someone's mind than being insulting and derogatory. Now that you're afraid to give your opinion, it can't be challenged.

    Flashburn
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