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  1. - Top - End - #271
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowknight12 View Post
    What an excellent job. The idea of including social class was actually a stroke of genius. Classism is VERY ingrained in fantasy settings (as cultural inertia from the idea that only nobles or people with the blood of nobles/kings/gods were able to perform great deeds).
    I don't think "classism" is a particularly valuable concept. The actual relationships between classes offer rich enough opportunities for criticism without creating an ideology of oppression analogous to other "ism"s to criticize.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raineh Daze View Post
    'Aristocrats'. Upper class would be better, and could then more accurately reflect certain situations (e.g. Tarquin and Malack might not own land, but both of them are obscenely well off due to their positions and the whole setup. 'Spare Ring of Regeneration', for instance. Too high up to be middle class, but not landed gentry.)
    Given the recent reminder not to discuss politics, we're probably going to have to discuss this in very general terms, but to me it is not at all clear that there is an identifiable "ruling class" in the OOTS setting. That is, it is possible to identify different ruling classes in any given OOTS polity. Azure City, for instance, has/had an aristocracy with real power. The Western Continent does not, and the middle classes have a lot of power. This is one of the reasons I created the "occupation" column, to decouple rulership from any one class.

    What's more, you'll notice that the working definitions I used talk about the source, not the amount of wealth as the determinant of class. This allows for things like impoverished aristocrats and obscenely wealthy middle class people.

    Half-orcs don't have their race listed as green.
    This is actually something I had a pretty big internal struggle with while making the table. On the one hand, I would have no problem listing the race of the orcs of Orc Island as "green (orc)". On the other, Therkla's human parent can be identified as "east asian" similarly to the other Azurites, while Thog's and Bozzok's human parents are unknown. I went with the format [race of human parent] (orc) as a compromise I wasn't terribly happy with.

    Samantha and her father are both deceased
    Thanks for catching that. I was getting tired as I got to the end.

    Gannji and Enor aren't criminals. Not sure where that's come from.
    Again, look at the definition. They get their income by taking something - liberty - from someone, while not employing anybody else. They seize, but do not exploit. Thus they fit into what I've labeled the "criminal class", though a better name could probably be invented.

    [*]Girard doesn't seem like his class is right. He isn't exactly much of a land owner any more than Dorukan is.
    Actually, it's probably Dorukan that should have his class changed, as both he and Girard (and Soon, and Serini) owned and built up significant tracts of land.

    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    [*]Redcloak and the higher-ranking Hobgoblins might present as middle class, but they're either very high or very low class depending on how that's seen. In Goblin society they're at the top of the heap but outside of it they're Kill-On-Sight Untouchables. Either way, they're not working for a living so much as ruling or scrabbling to survive.
    What is "scrabbling to survive" other than "working for a living"? That's just what "working for a living" is. Anyone who says different, probably doesn't. In any case, you're mixing up two things. First, the OOTSworld does not have one big society in which everyone has their place. There is such a thing as goblin society, and there are class relationships within it. Second, goblins' status within human society is mediated by their race first, but that does not make their means of sustaining their lives (which is what, to a large extent, determines class) irrelevant.

    [*]Nale is not middle class; Tarquin's three-empire scheme was going pretty much his entire life, leaving him as the son of the Top General / secret dictator of wherever they were at the time. That and his attitude put him solidly in the aristocratic category.
    Read the definitions again. Tarquin and Nale kept themselves alive by offering their rarified and professional services, and by employing people, in their case soldiers, to do other tasks, in this case fighting, for them. That makes them middle class. Their status as rulers, their occupation, does not impact their means of sustaining themselves.

    [*]Diago and Kazumi may have noble titles, but they're the definition of nouveau riche. If Kubota had killed them, I doubt the other Noble Houses would see it as anything other than getting rid of pretentious rabble.
    Again, mixing up social status and social class. Kazumi and Daigo are entitled, but what you're missing is that that entitlement comes with real rights and privileges. Kazumi and Daigo can collect rents on lands they own and command the fealty of samurai. Now that Hinjo actually has lands to grant to his followers, those rights might actually mean something.

    [*]Tarquin is even less Middle Class than Nale. He literally sips fine wine while watching slaves killed for his personal amusement.
    Again, mixing up status and class. It is far from impossible to conceive of a society where the middle class is also the ruling class, with all the attendant perqs. Think hard, I'm sure you'll come up with one
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    Do not forget Julio Scoundrel, the kind of hispanic father figure! (He gave this Zorro vibe to me)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowknight12 View Post
    May I reiterate again that I find it quite deplorable that social progressiveness needs a narrative reason, while patriarchal views, heteronormativity, racial erasure, ableism, classism and all those things get a free pass because of cultural inertia?
    Ah, so this is how my posts were coming across. I actually think everything in the story requires justification - a writer is already asking their audience to invest considerable time and energy into their work rather than something else, they should respect that and leave out irrelevant details.

    Then it's a question of "What is the story I want to tell and what is beneficial to that story?" - obviously the question of "Should I even be telling this story?" should be asked first, and at that stage certain other queries like those about "where ARE the black/gay/female/guys-in-dresses hiding anyway?" should be answered, hopefully by putting them in reasonably prominent positions.

    Out of curiosity, did you see Stardust? If so, what did you think of Robert DeNiro's character?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craft (Cheese) View Post
    The irony comes in when we use "Orcs are a metaphor for human savagery" to rationalize human savagery.

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    The way you're defining classes is rather... peculiar. You've basically split it into income source and not, in fact, social class. You've also got a really weird definition of aristocrat (owning land =/= aristocracy, especially not when you live in the middle of nowhere on your own)

    Classifying Gannji and Enor as criminals also means that you'd be classifying police as criminals. The difference is they're not directly employed by the state.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zimmerwald1915 View Post
    What is "scrabbling to survive" other than "working for a living"? That's just what "working for a living" is. Anyone who says different, probably doesn't. In any case, you're mixing up two things.

    ...

    What's more, you'll notice that the working definitions I used talk about the source, not the amount of wealth as the determinant of class. This allows for things like impoverished aristocrats and obscenely wealthy middle class people.

    ...

    Read the definitions again. Tarquin and Nale kept themselves alive by offering their rarified and professional services, and by employing people, in their case soldiers, to do other tasks, in this case fighting, for them. That makes them middle class. Their status as rulers, their occupation, does not impact their means of sustaining themselves.
    Why put class on the table at all if we're not looking at social position? Especially putting it alongside Gender Sexuality and Race?

    Besides, gradations need to exist. Slaves, professional criminals like everyone in Greysky, subsistence farmers like those peasants the Order and Miko helped, blue collar workers and soldiers, white collar professionals like the two lawyers, new money like Kazumi and Diago, aristocrats like Kubota; each of these have different expectations about life, ways of speaking and behaving, and obviously different lifestyles. The point of class as a concept is to give all that information quickly; saying Roy is middle class or that Tarquin is an aristocrat explains a lot more than their source of income.

    Also, which class someone presents as is IMO more important than which one they are in. A lot of works have biases from which make supposedly "lower class" or "upper class" people behave like people in the author's social position; see most movies written by wealthy Hollywood screenwriters which try to deal with class. That affects representation as much as what class people are on-paper.

    Quote Originally Posted by zimmerwald1915 View Post
    First, the OOTSworld does not have one big society in which everyone has their place. There is such a thing as goblin society, and there are class relationships within it. Second, goblins' status within human society is mediated by their race first, but that does not make their means of sustaining their lives (which is what, to a large extent, determines class) irrelevant.
    Yes, and in Goblin society Redcloak is the Pope and King while Jirix is the Prime Minister. Look at how eager the Hobgoblins are to literally die on their whims, the kinds of lives they lead in Gobbotopia, how they are addressed.

    With the second part, again it is a valid point. SoD showed that while Redcloak is very important among his own people, away from a powerful Goblinoid society he has to work hard for a fairly meager existence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raineh Daze View Post
    Biology went out the window the same time you got giant flying magical lizards that talk.
    Well, yes and no. Dragons clearly would defy the laws of nature in our world, but there's a specific word we use to describe stuff like that in a fantasy setting: Magic. And for my own part, while I'm as fond of Dragons and their enclosing Dungeons as the next guy, by default I also like explicitly mundane, non-magical things to behave in a fashion analogous to their real-world counterparts.

    Now, sure- if you're talking about the a setting where magic genuinely is damn-near ubiquitous and/or where foundational-realism is clearly running a distant third behind 'serendipitous drama' and 'swords the size of airplane wings', then you could probably squeeze in perfect gender equality and nobody would bat an eyelid. But I would maintain that a relatively low-magic setting with, e.g, blood-and-guts combat, mud on the streets, and strong analogues to real-world historical social structures could also reproduce some of their associated ethnic or sexual prejudices without being guilty of rank hypocrisy.

    There's also something to be said for characters who face prejudice, but find ways to circumvent or overcome it, in that it's arguably more instructive. (Buffy's vampire-slaying exploits may all be very entertaining, but I'm not sure how applicable her example is to those of us who aren't ordained as Slayers.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carry2 View Post
    Well, yes and no. Dragons clearly would defy the laws of nature in our world, but there's a specific word we use to describe stuff like that in a fantasy setting: Magic. And for my own part, while I'm as fond of Dragons and their enclosing Dungeons as the next guy, by default I also like explicitly mundane, non-magical things to behave in a fashion analogous to their real-world counterparts.

    Now, sure- if you're talking about the a setting where magic genuinely is damn-near ubiquitous and/or where foundational-realism is clearly running a distant third behind 'serendipitous drama' and 'swords the size of airplane wings', then you could probably squeeze in perfect gender equality and nobody would bat an eyelid. But I would maintain that a relatively low-magic setting with, e.g, blood-and-guts combat, mud on the streets, and strong analogues to real-world historical social structures could also reproduce some of their associated ethnic or sexual prejudices without being guilty of rank hypocrisy.
    Your argument boils down to 'heteronormativity doesn't bother most people, equal inclusion would'. :|

    There's also something to be said for characters who face prejudice, but find ways to circumvent or overcome it, in that it's arguably more instructive. (Buffy's vampire-slaying exploits may all be very entertaining, but I'm not sure how applicable her example is to those of us who aren't ordained as Slayers.)
    Of, of course. Obviously, the whole point of fiction is as an instructional guide for those who're being discriminated against to deal with something that shouldn't exist, because obviously we're the ones who need to put all the work in. ._.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raineh Daze View Post
    Your argument boils down to 'heteronormativity doesn't bother most people, equal inclusion would'. :|
    It's not a question of what would bother people per se, it's a question of what would be biologically, sociologically, or historically plausible. While I won't claim that all storytelling needs to adhere to those values, I do believe there is a valid role for literature of this type, even within the fantasy genre.
    Of, of course. Obviously, the whole point of fiction is as an instructional guide for those who're being discriminated against to deal with something that shouldn't exist...
    If you're talking about providing a template or working example of a world where such problems are absent to begin with, relying on magic to construct it is also, arguably, undercutting the usefulness of said example. Danaerys Targaryen's efforts to abolish rapine/slavery, on the other hand, might be closer to what I was getting at, in that she faces significant resistance to said efforts, and still manages to prevail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raineh Daze View Post
    Your argument boils down to 'heteronormativity doesn't bother most people, equal inclusion would'. :|
    This wasn't the point I was making, and I don't think it's the point he was making.

    Instead, it's that we enjoy fiction/fantasy/sci-fi which acts as a reflection of the world we live in. This reflection can be used to explore questions in ways which aren't necessarily possible in the world we live in now.

    There are also escapist reasons for reading fantasy/sci-fi especially. I enjoy them for those reasons also. I would go so far as to suggest that there is a spectrum between the two points, and most people who read those genres fall somewhere on the spectrum. So a society that's completely gender-neutral, or completely bi-sexual lies more towards the escapist side simply because it is so different to what we experience in real life. That doesn't mean such a story can't also say interesting things about the human condition, or just be enjoyable to read, but it is what it is.

    I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with enjoying fantasy which has a higher degree of reflection in it. Such stories don't have to side with the partiarchy just because it exists within them - though most unconsciously do, simply as a byproduct of the society which churns them out.

    As far as I can tell, people aren't saying you're wrong for enjoying that level of escapism, but the impression I've gotten is that at least some people are unhappy with people who enjoy closer levels of 'realism'. Maybe I'm seeing attacks on that that aren't there, and I certainly am not meaning to make any attacks on people who want fantasy that has those type of societies, but it bothered me at the time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craft (Cheese) View Post
    The irony comes in when we use "Orcs are a metaphor for human savagery" to rationalize human savagery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carry2 View Post
    Danaerys Targaryen's efforts to abolish rapine/slavery, on the other hand, might be closer to what I was getting at, in that she faces significant resistance to said efforts, and still manages to prevail.
    (I should, in fairness, mention that supernatural events played a large role in Dany's rise to power, and that she would have very real personal reasons for such sympathies. But there's also a fair amount of hard-nosed political manuevering at work here.)

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    Look, I can recognise that a lot of human perception and/or unconscious reasoning is based on imagery and symbolism and casual association, and as such, simply seeing sexual or ethnic minorities in positions of independence, power or importance might well be helpful in challenging unfair stereotypes. Maybe, on balance, there's a need for role-models of this type, even if the context is a tad unreal. And this is particularly true given the amount of fantasy fiction that has no especial interest in mimicking any portion of reality, past or present, while still overwhelmingly sidelining non-whites, gays, and/or women. I get that.

    But speaking as someone who happens to attach significant value to logical consistency and the acknowledgement of empirical fact, and who considers such preferences an intrinsic facet of my own identity, I also don't like when these values are denigrated, or automatically dismissed as an expression of some hidden ulterior motive. These are also integral aspects of the human psyche and just as deserving of representation.

    Of course, you can question why someone with this inclination would gravitate toward fantasy at all, and that's a question whose answer is probably beyond the scope of this discussion, partly because I don't fully understand it myself. I hesitate to say that fantasy has no value aside from the applicability of it's lessons to real life, since for all we know aesthetics is a value unto itself. However, I think it's fair to say the continuum between the mundane and the speculative is a tradeoff between 'easy to accept or relate to' and 'forces me to think', which I think is also what Cavelcade is getting at.

    And that's my two cents.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raineh Daze View Post
    Your argument boils down to 'heteronormativity doesn't bother most people, equal inclusion would'. :|
    I think the point was a restatement of a common writing rule: If you're going to change something from the way it works in the real world, make sure you have a reason for doing so. There are obviously a lot of good reasons to write pseudo-medieval fantasy that challenges actual-medieval gender roles, but if you're Guy Gavriel Kay and you want to write a book that's very closely based on Byzantium plus a little magic then traditional gender roles might be something you want to leave alone in the book. I think that's worthwhile.

    That said, there are also changes that are more or less invisible to us at this point: FTL travel and dragons are two good examples. Writers make those digressions from reality without thinking about it. Less obviously, writers of pseudo-medieval fantasy tend to (though not universally) ignore rampant disease, rotten teeth, high infant mortality, and a lot of other things that are greater digressions from reality than gender equality and LGBT inclusion would be, and they do it invisibly, because it would turn readers off to see those things in their nice fantasy. I wouldn't mind seeing gender equality become one of those invisible changes that authors handwave into existence in their generic fantasy.

    (Writers also underplay the actual historical contributions of women and LGBT people, because those contributions are underrepresented in the historical record. See Boudicca. But that's a slightly different issue.)

    I think both sides here have good points. From my perspective, a thoughtful writer who considers traditional gender roles and chooses to include them because they serve the story or the setting is doing nothing wrong. But for the many many writers who are producing standard pseudo-medieval fantasy that swallows all the traditional ahistorical tropes, like dragons and white teeth and lack of syphilis, there's no reason not to try to add "women sometimes lead armies" and "gay people exist" to that list of tropes readers don't notice—because they're actually more plausible than streets that aren't ankle-deep in poo.
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    If the point of any of these lists is to analyze the characters that I chose to put in the comic, then yes, Kazumi and Daigo are working class. The fact that events occurred to them during the comic that may have elevated them on paper does not mean that they have the attitudes and upbringing associated with the aristocracy. That was, in fact, Kubota's entire point about them, and failing to acknowledge that in any list of social classes is disingenuous. Class is what you are born and raised in; getting a windfall of money during adulthood doesn't make a person who grew up working class into an aristocrat, it makes them working class with a pile of money. Trust me, this one is a subject I actually know something about.

    Likewise, I agree that the bounty hunters are pursuing a legitimate career, just like real-life bounty hunters do. The main difference between working class and criminal class should be, do they have to spend time/energy/money evading the law just to make a living? Usually, Gannji and Enor don't. And Girard would probably have stabbed you in the eyeball if you called him an aristocrat to his face. Try working class, with a chip on his shoulder about it. Again, the fact that he became an adventurer, made a lot of money, and then built a dungeon in the middle of an unclaimed desert does not mean he's an aristocrat.

    Also, can we all stop listing Durkon's race as "white"? There are white dwarves in the comic. He is clearly not one of them. Try "brown" if you need to label it. I don't want to think too much about what it means when you see a character with brown skin and think, "That's a white guy with a tan." Likewise, yes, Julio Scoundrél is intended to be Hispanic, as is Phil Rodriguez.

    And finally, if you're going to throw around numerical percentages of inclusion, any chance of making the list of characters more complete?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carry2 View Post
    ...

    But speaking as someone who happens to attach significant value to logical consistency and the acknowledgement of empirical fact, and who considers such preferences an intrinsic facet of my own identity, I also don't like when these values are denigrated, or automatically dismissed as an expression of some hidden ulterior motive. These are also integral aspects of the human psyche and just as deserving of representation.

    ...
    That's not an argument that's likely to convince people. Comparing being a bit of a history/science wonk and being a member of a disadvantaged group is like comparing a steep hill to the Himalayas. They're both hard to climb, but put side by side the difference is staggering.

    Anyway, as I posted a few pages back, there are plenty of RL Matriarchies or otherwise tolerant societies in history which can be used as the basis for a Fantasy culture. This method means authors who care to research cultures outside of their own can make progressive fantasy without sacrificing realism, and actually save themselves a lot of world-building headaches overall. Would you be interested in reading a story like that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Also, can we all stop listing Durkon's race as "white"? There are white dwarves in the comic. He is clearly not one of them. Try "brown" if you need to label it. I don't want to think too much about what it means when you see a character with brown skin and think, "That's a white guy with a tan." Likewise, yes, Julio Scoundrél is intended to be Hispanic, as is Phil Rodriguez.

    ...
    Seeing as we've got you here already, do you mind answering a question that has always kind of confused me?

    D&D has Races, which are essentially species, but would you say those Races have racial groups within them? Obviously they have different skin pigmentation, but since race is (principally) a social construct I could see it working either way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowknight12 View Post
    Indeed, we disagree. Just because something was doesn't mean it needs to continue being. I do not support determinism. I reject it at every turn. If you are a determinist, that's fine, I do not mind, but I will never be satisfied with that as a rationale for why something is or must be.
    I am not a determinist, but I guess that depends on your exact definition of it.

    For example, I am going to say that, if you consider a number of human tribes, the pack leaders of those tribes (a position that tends to be grabbed by the individual who can best beat the crap out of the tribe's other individuals) are likely to be mostly men.

    (I'd call that statistics, not determinism, but it's still rooted in biology...)


    And, as an author (which I'm not), if I were going to write a story in which a fantasy tribe of humans appears, I'd probably choose to have it have a male Pack Leader unless the story calls for a female one.

    In other words... if the overwhelming majority of Brits were black, then Harry Potter would probably have been a straight black kid. And if the overwhelming majority of Brits were gay, then Harry Potter would probably have been gay. If you're going to tell a story about an average dude (which most stories are) to which not-so-average things happen... then that's what you pick for your main character. Sure, nothing would prevent you from instead going with a black female lesbian in a wheelchair if you wanted to, and the story would still be generally as good, but it'd make the story be slightly gratuitously weirder to the readers, and I believe most authors would rather avoid that.


    May I reiterate again that I find it quite deplorable that social progressiveness needs a narrative reason, while patriarchal views, heteronormativity, racial erasure, ableism, classism and all those things get a free pass because of cultural inertia?
    It might be deplorable, but authors still have to put bread on their tables.

    If you choose to ignore cultural inertia, fine for you, but know that many creators of cultural products likely don't have that luxury.




    Well, I already PM'd a few people, so I'll send you a copy, if you're interested. Though I want it on record that I'm not trying to convince you of anything.
    Thanks, I'll be sure to take a look.



    Ah, yes, I see that one very often too, the "gotta make money" rationale.

    Firstly, I would like to point out that just as it's very arbitrary to say "this is realistic and that is unrealistic" in a fantasy story, it's just as arbitrary to say "this is an acceptable risk, that isn't" when discussing creative endeavours.
    No, the difference is not arbitrary between what does have a long history of being documented in the genre, like massive sentient lizards who can fly and talk, or elves, or magic, and what does not, like oviparous humans.

    And regarding the risk, it's each author's own call. Which is why I used words like "probably" and "likely". Can't speak for anyone but myself.


    Also, I quite resent the implication that my status as an LGBTQ+ person is somehow a "really out of the box with little added story value". Congratulations for upholding heteronormativity and repeatedly painting LGBTQ+ people (and gender equality) as unnatural, I guess.
    Sorry, but it's a fact that it's "out of the box" (i.e. nonstandard; the majority of people out there are not that) and it's another fact that sexual orientation often has no or little added story value (goes either way; being straight is also something that has no added value).

    (My example with the eggs was indeed really out of the box, but it was for the sake of the discussion.)

    But seriously, you don't think OotS would be at least slightly weirder if Roy had been born out of an egg laid by Eugene?

    (It's fantasy, so why not?)

    ...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    Seeing as we've got you here already, do you mind answering a question that has always kind of confused me?

    D&D has Races, which are essentially species, but would you say those Races have racial groups within them? Obviously they have different skin pigmentation, but since race is (principally) a social construct I could see it working either way.
    Well, race is a disingenuous word to apply to ethnicity anyway. All human races but one died out a long time ago. Race within a species would be like a blue tick hound or a walker hound. No such variation exists in modern humans. When it did, we warred over it and killed the other group off.

    So, while D&D humanoid races exist, (and the word race to establish the difference between two humanoids who can mate and have offspring is accurate,) there would be no such thing as races within those species. There would be ethnicities, I'm sure.

    The difference between a halfling and a gnome is not greater than the difference between a great dane and a ****-zu, yet they are of the same species. In the same way, an orc and a human are of the same species. When a halfling and an elf are both the same species, but different races within it, compare a chihuahua and a pitbull in your head and it will make sense.

    Also, any chance of including the CP policeman as an openly gay character? He is recurring, albeit minor. But he does have an established sexual orientation. Which is what this thread is about.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Likewise, yes, Julio Scoundrél is intended to be Hispanic, as is Phil Rodriguez.
    Weeee! Scoundrél is hispanic! Viva Don Julio!
    Rodriguez too, but that one was obvious.

    Quote Originally Posted by SowZ View Post
    Well, race is a disingenuous word to apply to ethnicity anyway. All human races but one died out a long time ago. Race within a species would be like a blue tick hound or a walker hound. No such variation exists in modern humans. When it did, we warred over it and killed the other group off.

    So, while D&D humanoid races exist, (and the word race to establish the difference between two humanoids who can mate and have offspring is accurate,) there would be no such thing as races within those species. There would be ethnicities, I'm sure.

    The difference between a halfling and a gnome is not greater than the difference between a great dane and a ****-zu, yet they are of the same species. In the same way, an orc and a human are of the same species. When a halfling and an elf are both the same species, but different races within it, compare a chihuahua and a pitbull in your head and it will make sense.

    Also, any chance of including the CP policeman as an openly gay character? He is recurring, albeit minor. But he does have an established sexual orientation. Which is what this thread is about.
    Yup, if we are doing this, we should make it exhaustively, to avoid wrong conclussions.
    Last edited by Leirus; 2013-04-08 at 01:35 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lio45 View Post
    But seriously, you don't think OotS would be at least slightly weirder if Roy had been born out of an egg laid by Eugene?

    (It's fantasy, so why not?)

    ...
    Yes, why not, indeed? Could change their relationship, if we assume that Eugene kept the egg warm and so on after laying it.

    Wouldn't make the comic weirder at all, there are protagonists (okay, antagonists) who are likely born out of an egg laid by one of their parents. Doesn't really affect the story, does it?

    (Eugene would be female by biological definition in that case, unless the egg was first laid into his belly pouch by a woman, but that wouldn't change anything, apart maybe from gender equality in terms of plot importance ...)
    Last edited by Themrys; 2013-04-08 at 01:39 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leirus View Post
    Weeee! Scoundrél is hispanic! Viva Don Julio!
    Rodriguez too, but that one was obvious.
    Julio seemed like a pretty strong indicator to me, as well as the Zorro parallels. But yes, viva Julio.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaintRidley View Post
    Julio seemed like a pretty strong indicator to me, as well as the Zorro parallels. But yes, viva Julio.
    Oh, that is why I asked. But having confirmation by The Giant is always sweet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carry2 View Post
    Danaerys Targaryen's efforts to abolish rapine/slavery, on the other hand, might be closer to what I was getting at, in that she faces significant resistance to said efforts, and still manages to prevail.
    A truly minor point in what is, hands down, the most informative and stimulating thread I've had the privilege to read but...

    'Prevail' is a somewhat...disputable term for Dany's level of sucess. Though I think by the end of the saga (if we ever get there), you may be right.

    ETA

    Quote Originally Posted by Themrys View Post
    Wouldn't make the comic weirder at all, there are protagonists (okay, antagonists) who are likely born out of an egg laid by one of their parents. Doesn't really affect the story, does it?
    If we are on the same page as to who these characters are, they are not humans. So why would it be a problem for them not to conform to Real World human biological norms?

    And, if I understand lio45's point correctly, it is important that they are, as you say, antagonists and not protagonists. The argument is that, in certain genres (including fantasy and sci-fi) audiences need, for want of a better term, a 'normal' protagonist, whose journey they follow and with whom they can easily identify. (I seem to remember the RedLetterMedia review of the Phantom Meanace making this point very clearly). This helps them to accept all of the truly wierd stuff (be it aliens, magic, or talking flying lizards).

    Even if you buy this point of view for protagonists, it clearly doesn't apply to antagonists. So no, egg-laying antagonists (perhaps even if they were human) would probably not make a fantasy story unacceptably wierd for some readers, whereas an egg-laying human protagonist might.
    Last edited by sam79; 2013-04-08 at 02:27 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sam79 View Post
    A truly minor point in what is, hands down, the most informative and stimulating thread I've had the privilege to read but...

    'Prevail' is a somewhat...disputable term for Dany's level of sucess. Though I think by the end of the saga (if we ever get there), you may be right.

    Talking about that book series, why is it always assumed that patriarchal, rapey, overall ****ty societies don't need an explanation, but matriarchies do?

    We don't even really know why exactly patriarchies are so common in our world - and no, "men are stronger because biology" makes no sense, neanderthals were stronger than homo sapiens, after all - so why do we automatically assume that, for some reason, the histories of fantasy worlds are exactly like that of our world in all respects that influence this?

    Why don't people who read about a matriarchal fantasy society just assume that something must have happened to cause things to be that way, without being explicitly told by the author?

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    Because it breaks with preconceptions people have about people already.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Themrys View Post

    We don't even really know why exactly patriarchies are so common in our world - and no, "men are stronger because biology" makes no sense, neanderthals were stronger than homo sapiens, after all - so why do we automatically assume that, for some reason, the histories of fantasy worlds are exactly like that of our world in all respects that influence this?
    Because, especially in a relatively Low Fantasy setting like Westeros, authors often choose to stick quite closely to Real World political and social structures. Humans there are like humans here, and so are their political arrangements. These are, as you point out, overwhelmingly patriarchal.

    And, with regard to A Song of Fire and Ice specifically; the most violent and rapey society depicted, that of the Dothraki, does demand (and get) some explaination. If I remember rightly, isn't this society also somewhat matriachal?
    Last edited by sam79; 2013-04-08 at 02:38 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sam79 View Post
    A And, if I understand lio45's point correctly, it is important that they are, as you say, antagonists and not protagonists. The argument is that, in certain genres (including fantasy and sci-fi) audiences need, for want of a better term, a 'normal' protagonist, whose journey they follow and with whom they can easily identify. (I seem to remember the RedLetterMedia review of the Phantom Meanace making this point very clearly). This helps them to accept all of the truly wierd stuff (be it aliens, magic, or talking flying lizards).
    OotS has enough human protagonists, and V's ability to only use a toilet every three weeks is somewhat weirder than egg-laying, especially since the latter doesn't come up that often.

    Besides, the German P&P roleplay game DSA has the option to play a witch who was born from an egg. People like it. It's not weird on a level of "too strange to relate to". Okay, I don't know about US-Americans ...

    @Astrella: It was mainly a rhetorical question, although it is weird that people can drop their preconception that magic doesn't exist easier than that about patriarchy.

    @sam79: I only read the first book, but if I remember correctly, this is a world where winter is not three months but three years, or so. Which is ... quite a lot different from our world.
    Last edited by Themrys; 2013-04-08 at 02:51 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    That's not an argument that's likely to convince people. Comparing being a bit of a history/science wonk and being a member of a disadvantaged group is like comparing a steep hill to the Himalayas...
    I vaguely recall something about not getting involved in the oppression olympics, but regardless, what I take exception to is the idea that depiction of inequalities is the same as advocacy or wish-fulfillment, at least when a relatively high degree of verisimilitude is a consistent priority for the author.
    Anyway, as I posted a few pages back, there are plenty of RL Matriarchies or otherwise tolerant societies in history which can be used as the basis for a Fantasy culture. This method means authors who care to research cultures outside of their own can make progressive fantasy without sacrificing realism, and actually save themselves a lot of world-building headaches overall. Would you be interested in reading a story like that?
    I suppose so, if the writing was decent, though I can't say I'm terribly familiar with specific examples thereof. Real-world social matriarchies tend to be relatively rare, and any brand of fantasy outside of the european or oriental mold is also uncommon. EDIT: Then again, I suppose there's something to be said for novelty value...
    Last edited by Carry2; 2013-04-08 at 03:08 PM.

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    Wow - i tried to read all or at least most of this thread since my last posting, so now i'd like to add some thoughts:

    On the "autor's intention against reader's perception"-topic:
    In my opinion the autor has the last word on what he intended to say. Even if there are comunication issues the autor should know best, what he meant.

    On the "equal appearance" topic:
    If i'd write a story where i have to know how the characters feel, i'd probably stay with characters i can identify with. This may be the main reason why white straight males write about white straight males. One Problem with the equal appearance is also, that there will always be groups of underrepresented or ignored people. Next thing is that you have only so much equal positions in a story - the fewer there are, the more problematic things will get, because if you have only two top positions, where one is the hero and the other his mighty opponent, would it be wise to grab for maximum diversity?

    Looking at the OotS, the gender representation was set in the first strips, where the OotS was a typical group of adventurers. I have been in some PnP groups, and i must say, regardless whether there were female players or not, the female hero count was always 1 to 2 out of 5 to 6.

    On the "representation of women in society" topic:
    There actually was a reason, why men are overrepresented especially in military (and as a result in leading positions there) - think of a small tribe with 100 people, 50 men and 50 women, which is about to engage in combat. If many of the men die, but the women survive, the tribe will recover - if the men survive while many of the women die, the tribe will parish. But if leadership of a tribe is gained by being a great warrior, this leads to men leading tribes.

    On the "Haley's leadership" topic:
    Let's look at what Haley did when she had to take Roy's place as leader of the OotS: she ordered the main part of the group to retreat to safety while taking it upon herself to retrieve Roy's corpse. Ok, here hide skill had to do with it, but that's what i've been said makes a good leader: not just sending one's people out to get killed but trying for keeping them alive. And that's something she accomplished very well.

    And just for the record: i still think Belkar should be listed as bisexual, as he acknowledged that it was no sacrifice for him to check on male prostitutes (ok, we have no information about how inconspicuous he should check). At least we do not know if he is straight (and i'm not sure if every other character listed as straight is proven so)

    Oh, and i'm still not convinced that the MitD is male - we do not even know if it is of any type with existing different genders.

    After checking once more: could we add Julia Greenhilt to the "Other" group?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Themrys View Post
    OotS has enough human protagonists, and V's ability to only use a toilet every three weeks is somewhat weirder than egg-laying, especially since the latter doesn't come up that often.
    I disagree; egg-laying for me is wierder. But that's ok.

    I don't remember V's toilet habits coming up all that often either, as it happens. Her sleep patterns (or lack thereof) are more prominent. But you make the point yourself; the OotS are the protagonists, and fully half of them are human. The others are the most human-like non-humans available.

    Quote Originally Posted by Themrys View Post
    Besides, the German P&P roleplay game DSA has the option to play a witch who was born from an egg. People like it. It's not weird on a level of "too strange to relate to". Okay, I don't know about US-Americans ...
    That sounds like a pretty interesting game, but I wonder if it would be so popular if ALL the characters were egg-born? There are options for playing all kinds of wierd and wonderful creatures in many RPGs, D+D included. But, in my experience, most people play humans, or demi-humans (i.e. creatures that are pretty close to being human). Most people also tend to play characters of the same gender and sexuality as themselves, which is a bit of a shame really. Though perhaps your experience is different from mine?

    Quote Originally Posted by Themrys View Post
    @sam79: I only read the first book, but if I remember correctly, this is a world where winter is not three months but three years, or so. Which is ... quite a lot different from our world.
    You do indeed remember correctly; Winters (and other seasons) last years rather than months. But that was part of the argument; the wierder the setting, the more often an author is tempted to include a 'normal' human protagonist.

    But the world of a Song of Ice and Fire is a LOT more like our world than it is unlike it (it has land and sea and trees and air and animals and grass and a sun and a moon and years and seasons and ...you get the idea).
    Last edited by sam79; 2013-04-08 at 03:20 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Themrys View Post
    Talking about that book series, why is it always assumed that patriarchal, rapey, overall ****ty societies don't need an explanation, but matriarchies do?

    We don't even really know why exactly patriarchies are so common in our world - and no, "men are stronger because biology" makes no sense, neanderthals were stronger than homo sapiens, after all - so why do we automatically assume that, for some reason, the histories of fantasy worlds are exactly like that of our world in all respects that influence this?

    Why don't people who read about a matriarchal fantasy society just assume that something must have happened to cause things to be that way, without being explicitly told by the author?
    Men are stronger for a reason, certainly. I don't know exactly what that reason is, but there must be a pretty strong reason because it is true of most mammals. I'm not making any point or trying to insinuate anything by this post, by the way, except to say that 'men are stronger than women,' isn't necessarily an invalid point in many arguments. Though its usually a pretty weak argument if used by itself.
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