Dark Dungeons

Oh yeah, baby, wrap those tentacles around my big wet Earth.

John C. Cockbite*, John C. Cockbite, Auteur:
Dungeons and Perverts

Ah yes, the kink dungeon. A somewhat overwhelming place at first, however there is a welcoming air there and a lack of judgment. Whoever you are, whatever you are into, whoever you are attracted to, or how you identify… there is someone ten times freakier than you on the next St. Andrews Cross over. And that can be a freedom in a way in a world where freaky is wrong.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the kink efforts to reclaim the words slut and pervert, turning them from cruel invectives and callous hate into badges of pride. Yes, one can proclaim, I am a pervert, I’m into the “weird” shit, but that does not put me at risk or mean I am inferior to some sad sack performing missionary position with his wife every 9 months because his company’s insurance plan just blocked contraception.

And it is no wonder that the right-wing is cottoning in to this effort and in their traditionally heavy handed manner-

I-

What? It’s not? Really?

Then what is the article actually about?

Shorter (or the last port before Jungle):

  • AIEEEEE! Dungeons and Dragons has finally acknowledged that players can play as non-binary or trans* individuals in their demonic devil dice game, despite the fact that queer gamers and kinky nerds (huge overlap there) have been doing that for years and in fact fan additions to the game as well as rare items in canon have actually codified rules for gender swap spells or curses. Nonetheless, let me react to this no duh as if it was the very hand of Satan come to swallow our souls and turn all our most precious son resources into fags.

Oh… never mind then.

Wow, Dungeons and Dragons being the cursed devil for right-wing homophobes. Oh, how that takes me back. See, like many nerds, Dungeons and Dragons was my gateway drug for the hard corrupting influences of fantasy novels and decadent dice addictions. Sure, I may have just been in college, thinking I was playing it safe, but fast forward and suddenly I’m carting around a dedicated dice bag and fourteen source books and babbling about my lucky die.

Oh yes, much like the Chick Tracts warned us, D&D was my enticing entry point to a world of decadent sin and NEEEEEEEERDery, derailing a promising mind into learning new methods of crafting interactive stories and creating shared experiences while communicating clear and not so clear objectives and planning ahead multiple future options. Yes, truly a decadent and vile sorcery, unacceptable in any polite company. No wonder religious communities treated it as an unholy combination of a Pride Parade, a heavy metal concert, and an Anton LaVey interview all rolled into one…

Which might make it more ironic that the first group to get me into the tumbling die was a group of Evangelical kids (…I had kinda a rough adolescence). Sure, they may have tweaked the rules so that magic was actually just psionics (because apparently an omniscient ruler of the Universe with a hate-on for anything even hinting of the dark vile forces of magick is also apparently easily fooled by a simple search and replace… no no see, my fictional character is setting things on fire with their brain, not random fictional magical powers, so we’re all good), but it was still dice rolling and stat sheets, arguing whether or not something counted for a hit, and chatting about random shit and Monty Python references until the DM started rolling impatiently with a devious grin on his face.

D&D has had its draconic talons in me for a very long time and is the source of a lot of fond memories. D&D birthed my first experiences writing fantasy, were my first experiences with acting and improv, was the main bonding point for my small circle of friends in high school and undergrad, and so much more. Being a Dungeon Master (DM), or the person behind the small mountain of sourcebooks regretting having to roll the attacks for each one of the 50 kobolds they thought it would be so clever to throw at the heroes, polished my story-telling and writing skills more than a thousand school essays and building my own home-brewed systems were a point of pride for me when I was a wee pup.

And yes, D&D was my first real experience with being a woman. Sure, it was all for pretend and I wasn’t often allowed to do it because of what others smelled in me that I could not at the time, but my fictional spell psionics-slinging sorceress was a comfort I did not yet know to appreciate.

So yeah, the dice and the dragons and the dungeons that were only occasionally kinky… okay, not that occasionally, especially when I started playing with other college kids have always been dear to me.

Which is why it is awesome that they have apparently always been responsible for Satan’s impending takeover of the Earth, the seas boiling, the skies growing red with blood, and DC’s comic releases getting worse than ever.

James Wyatt, the designer of the latest Dungeons & Dragons starter set, is trumpeting how progressive the game’s values are:

(sing-songy voice) ~Time for esoteric knowledge and backstory!~ (/sing-songy voice (because my voice is dead at the moment))

James Wyatt is but one of the three writers for the new upcoming fifth edition of D&D (see, D&D keeps coming out with various editions of D&D so that each generation of loser gamer can smugly look down on the next for playing the “easy mode for babies” that “ruined the whole game”). He’s not one of the lead designers for the game and there are four full editors credited with checking over everything.

This is important because the supposed “trumpeting of progressive values” is actually just a paragraph addendum in the section on character’s gender in the official fifth edition basic rule sheet released for free to the public.

But see James Wyatt must be called out by name as the sole arbiter of this PC madness because of Wingnut Rule No. 1238 which states that every business decision by a corporation that happens to favor equality or ruling by a committee or panel of judges must be credited to one single easily smeared topic in order to pretend that corporations are pure and wonderful and as wingnutty as a bright summer day (that happens to have a school shooting in it) and individuals are weak and cowardly and liberal and against the clear majority (who are becoming so vanishingly small that even the Bigot Party is not sure it wants to keep courting them).

What makes this whole scapegoating even funnier is that five seconds of googling produced the little tidbit that James Wyatt is actually a former Methodist Pastor.

Allow me a second to lol at the out-of-touch bigot and… continue.

You don’t need to be confined to binary notions of sex and gender. The elf god Corellon Larethian is often seen as androgynous or hermaphroditic, for example, and some elves in the multiverse are made in Corellon’s image. You could play a female character who presents herself as a man, a man who feels trapped in a female body, or a bearded female dwarf who hates being mistaken for a male. Likewise, your character’s sexual orientation is for you to decide.

This is apparently the offending part of the Rules Handbook that is causing the usual bigots to rend their garments and dust off their old anti-D&D screeds.

It’s in a section on Character’s sex after a bit that goes:

You can play a male or female character without gaining any special benefits or hinderances. Think about how your character does or does not conform to broader culture’s expectations of sex, gender, and sexual behavior.

Which is in turn is surrounded by sections on crafting a name, figuring out the height of your character, their alignment, religion, languages, personality traits, ideals, and flaws.

In short, it’s about roleplaying and crafting a fictional character who can interact with the story one’s DM is telling as a complex person instead of a set of numbers to do other numbers to fake number monsters. Because that’s the appeal of D&D, the complex story-telling and interaction of characters, building the chance to grow and make memorable moments as some character changed and evolved or some hilarious expression of who a character was doomed or saved the party. It’s what allows a silly game about barbarians and wizards be a tool for nerdy introverted geeks to bond and build shared memories instead of some dumb math problem that eats 6 hour chunks of one’s life.

… It’s also what already fucking happens.

I mean, it’s a shock apparently to Captain Heteronormative here, but gamers, and especially queer gamers have always explored the fantasy options to include trans* and queer characters as well as sex and kink and pretty much every other permutation possible. Because fantasy can be fun and it can be an opportunity to explore or craft a more idyllic world or lend a fantastical solution to real problems. I’ve certainly DM’d my share of campaigns with major trans* NPCs and several queer and trans* player characters, because I’m playing with queer geeks and that just makes sense.

What this addition is is simply spelling out what a lot of gamers already do in a section which is basically about learning how to be a gamer and think like someone who roleplays. And sure, this might be the first time this has been specifically mentioned in the rulebook in this exact section, but this isn’t exactly the first time trans* elements have been part of the canon rules.

Hell, I still have my copy of the 3.5 edition of D&D Dungeon Master’s Handbook, specifically the section on cursed items you could have in your game, which was published back in 2003. See, cursed items were this trap a DM was encouraged to include in the game to get players to be careful about new items because a certain number of them carried a curse that effected a player in different ways. And there were tables you would roll a d100 or hundred sided dice (usually done by rolling two ten sided die) to determine what effect the cursed item would have with effects ranging from poison to major personality shifts and so on…

Or, in the drawback table, this entry:

30-32: Character’s gender changes.

Yeah, two editions ago, DMs were actually encouraged to gender swap their players as an official part of the rules, but since that was presumed to be mortifying for all parties that was cool as compared to the new evil which posits that there is nothing wrong or odd with playing trans* spectrum characters. Cause that makes sense for reasons other than reflexive transphobia… uh huh.

And what could possibly be more authentically faux medieval than that?

… And what could be… I…

A game where you can play as a devil-person wizard capable of bridging the party to whole other dimensions or a halfling ranger who worships a Raven Queen goddess of death and where random parties of adventurers conquer dragons and liches and there are no inherent gender restrictions is… “authentically faux medieval”, but add a line about your fantasy toolbox for making slightly obscured choose-your-own-adventure stories about being able to play as trans* people who actually existed in medieval times (I mean, there’s no way to be sure that Jeanne D’ Arc was a trans* man, but there are a number of other bodies buried around the medieval times with gendered accoutrements for a different sex than the bone tests computed that suggest that trans* people were definitely still a thing back then) is just breaking the “realism” of your fantasy game.**

Uh huh…

Perhaps… and I don’t mean to be rude here… but maybe, just maybe your ignorant, inaccurate ideas of “historical realism” weren’t the main concern in this fantasy game about fantasy. Maybe, just maybe, it’s just a toolbox so that a bunch of nerds in the 70s could roleplay in Tolkein-esque fantasy settings and make their tabletop army game more rewarding and story-driven that happened to catch on as a universal fantasy-story-generator that each individual group of players crafts their own kind of story in.

But anyways, I think I interrupted. Please, continue.

I believe Shuma Gorath has already boasted how the worship of evil would supplant all other religions? And you thought he was just a comic book bad guy?

Uhhhhhh? (Flip, flip, flip) Was there something cut out or…

No, apparently not. Nope, instantly off of ranting about a Baby’s First Inquisition’s (let’s all just forget the Children’s Crusade, Love, the Catholic Church) understanding of “authentic medieval history” and what the word “fantasy” maeans, he suddenly shifts to a random reference to an obscure Marvel villain “based on” (i.e. shamelessly copy-pasted from) H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos.

I’m honestly just as baffled as you are.

I mean, the bolding of evil I get. It’s just the standard right-wing Christian ranting about how D&D is evil and corrupting your children that dominated right-wing Christian efforts in the 80s and built entire industries around demonizing a nerdy little pen and paper game.

But the rest…?

I mean, there’s the slow nervous laugh inducing shudder inherent in his apparent inability to distinguish reality and fiction as aptly demonstrated by the line about thinking a comic book bad guy is a comic book bad guy, which is… (cold shudder) anyways…

But the rest is just like a rubik’s cube of crazy. I mean, we went from trans* people being acknowledged to worship of evil destroying all other religions… I’m trying not to read anything into that, but I’m also not planning to walk anywhere within a 200 ft radius of him ever in my life.

And the horrifying thing is people this dumb and painfully delusional about reality are considered more qualified to hold positions of power in this country than trans* people… No wonder we’re poisoning our world to death.

There’s then a picture of an old Doctor Strange comic with a Trigon looking claw coming out of the sky and…

No doubt you are wondering ‘Didn’t John C. Wright, famed international author and curmudgeon, just use that picture yesterday

… Do you often use that picture in lieu of arguments? Do you think comic pages are actually arguments? I mean, is that a thing we can do? Could I just be linking to scans of Raven and Starfire homoerotically talking about love while bathing in the nude instead of using my brain words to make the argument stuff… actually, that honestly might be superior to my usual output… um, I need to rethink my life choices…

to underscore some point about Leftist crazies forcing Catholics to pay for abortifacient contraceptives and calling their unwillingness to do so a war on women?’

Um…

A) Employees asking for the right to use their earned compensation in the way they want and have their own religious freedom and basic health care rights respected ain’t forcing nobody to pay for anything.

B) Anyone who uses the term abortifacent contraceptives as if it is a real thing deserves to have a womb violently implanted in them and a crash course on the difference between contraception and abortion… also why that shouldn’t fucking matter either way.

C) You’re a moron.

No really, stop listening to Fox News and just stay away from the internet, because at this point, I’m honestly wondering how you function in day-to-day life and I don’t think you can afford to keep burning brain cells at your current rate.

D) Really? You used the same fucking nonsensical, delusional, and completely out of left field appeal to God and Satan as your response to the completely bullshit Hobby Lobby decision? Do… do you just use this picture every time your brain realizes it has no argument other than… durr, is not white cis male, smash with hammer…? And if so, why in Bob’s glowing green nuclear fallout Earth do you seem to think it is some slam-dunk knockout answer?

It’s like if instead of snarking I just responded to every wingnut post with a picture to a neon pink pumpkin and acted like that was the ultimate trump card of destiny.

WORSHIP THE PINK PUMPKIN, CRETINS!!!!

Yes, well the picture is appropriate today as well,

Uh huuuuuh, yes, tell me about your first obsessions with the picture… do you still have the wet dreams about the giant sky hand grabbing your hard one-inch cock? Yes, I promise not to tell your story to Fredric Wertham. Yes, I know he’s looking for new publishing material and I’m hard up for cash. I have integrity… mmm, hmmm.

now that gamer crazies are trying to manipulate kiddie ideas about decency

Decency is for pussies and children. Real grown-up men know that being a complete dick to people is where it’s at! Bullies for life, brahhhh!

and perversion in sex in a game otherwise concerned with spelunking robbers who slay monsters.

Dude. Have you ever met a nerd in your life?

They add perversion and sex to everything they come into contact with. Everything. I mean, rule 34 is an internet rule for a reason.

The picture is appropriate every day.

Yessss. The picture is always there to comfort you when you go to sleep. The queers and the wimminfolk won’t get you as long as you have your lucky picture, ha… ha…

Just go to sleep and we’ll just quietly sneak out of your scary murder basement just as quietly as we entered… and… RUN FOR IT! Trip the slow and the racist on your way out!

Just in case you forget, the insanity from the Left never stops.

Yes… The insanity from the “left”. Mmm hmm, yes, you are making such an incredibly strong case for sanity right now.

It. Just. Never. Stops.

No. No it doesn’t. Cause see, trans* people exist. Queer people exist. Women exist. Blacks exist. Black queer trans* women exist. And though you can retreat to your magic sky hand picture whenever you want and wish and hope and pray that it’s just the work of Satan’s throbbing giant red cock penetrating the Heavens over and over again, it doesn’t change the fact that people other than cis white straight men exist. And that the general culture is less and less willing to conform entirely to the desperate sad cravings of a bunch of sad old white men crouching in a hole wishing for the world to depart and leave them be at the expense of all those people who exist and continue to exist as well as their acquaintances and friends who don’t want to pretend those people don’t exist. Especially as that increasing group of people have money and votes and are rapidly becoming the majority in this country.

And that might frighten you, because you just can’t stop the world back when you were a child and your daddy told you how to think and everything made sense no matter how much you stamp your feetsies and call everyone else who exists an agent of Satan.

And so you stamp your feet harder and clutch your sky hand picture closer and… float on to obscurity as the world continues to spin, undestroyed, out of your control.

It never stops, John. It will never stop. Not until this solar system collapses.

Enjoy that.


‘Shorter’ concept created by Daniel Davies and perfected by Elton Beard. Wait, D&D is destroying the God worshipped by these petty authoritarians? Someone draw me a map and fetch me a d20, because I need to plan a campaign right the fuck now! We are aware of all Internet traditions.™

*Apparently, John C. Wright is a sci-fi author. A sci-fi writer who is a deeply bigoted, poorly-reasoned right-wing buffoon, say it ain’t so… because at this point that’s about as cliche as a pie thrown in the face.

**This reminds me of a batch of stupid surrounding a game called Crusader Kings that I used to play back when I actually had moments of free time to play video games. See, it’s a game where you play a dynasty in medieval times and you try and change history. And some modders have tried to make mods where you can allow women to have equal roles and where homosexual marriage is possible and a lot of clearly not-at-all bigoted douchebags have railed against the notion as that wasn’t “historically accurate”… in the game all about changing history. They also apparently seem to not understand that a modification of the game doesn’t actually change their personal copies and thus they don’t have to play a smelly version where women are people and people other than heterosexuals can marry if they don’t want… Yeah, bigots seem to have a great deal of difficulty understanding the notion of different people being allowed to do different things thing don’t they? Bu-bu-but if that person does something that’s helpful and refreshing to them, then I’ll have to do it myself, because everyone is an interconnected robot who follows the same program from the giant supercomputer that secretly controls our lives.

***Since, random appeals to the universe seem to be the rage, I’d kindly request the universe cease kicking me in the balls for five seconds, please. I mean, in the last week or so, I’ve had my car broken into, my family going full abusive tyrant “corrective therapy” on me making me worried about exactly how to make sure I never have to fall back on them ever, my credit card phished, and my brain cracking under the stress of it all. It’s a little much is all I’m saying. Maybe we could go back to one terrible a thing a week for awhile, just for a change.

 

Comments: 89

Leave a reply »

 
 
 

My only problem with Dungeons & Dragons is that I wasted far too much time playing it in college.

 
 

I once got into an online argument with someone who was arguing that gay sex was icky, that men had been trained by the wicked wicked porn to like girl-on-girl, but women–who of course don’t watch porn–are revolted by guy-on-guy. It was hard to know where to start, but I timidly asked if he’d ever heard of slash. He hadn’t. I tiptoed away.

 
 

I enjoyed reading some of Wright’s books years ago, but turned them into a local bookstore recently. This is not his first foray into being an awful person and I couldn’t read them anymore without remembering all of that.

 
 

Girdle of Femininity/Masculinity: although this item appears to be a Girdle of Giant Strength, as soon as it is worn it changes the sex of its wearer. It can be removed only with a Wish.”

–D&D Supplement I: Greyhawk (1975)

So this type of cursed item goes back to the beginning of pen-and-paper RPGs. What strikes me about the item on close reading is that you can’t take the damned belt off. Previously I had assumed that the curse was the whole problem, but no. Better hope it’s a stylish belt! (“Girdle” has a narrower meaning today than before.)

More on the whole topic later, as it’s of special interest to me.

 
Big Bad Bald Bastard
 

Plenty of people, usually high-powered businessmen, play Dungeons and Perverts on a regular basis.

 
 

But wait, scroll down the comments section a bit and you see:

Comment by John C Wright:
Saturday, July 5th 2014 at 2:44 am |
I play females rather than males roughly half the time…

http://www.scifiwright.com/2014/07/dungeons-and-perverts/#comment-100055

But that’s a totally different thing, because…reasons and stuff…

 
 

women–who of course don’t watch porn–are revolted by guy-on-guy.

I’ve been reading fanfic since the 1970s. I’ve known about slash almost as long, and, based on my (admittedly limited) reading of various forms of porn, developed a theory: if it was woman-on-woman, the author was probably male. If man-on-man, the author probably female. And in zine-based fanfic, anyway, it was lesbians and straight women writing the slash. Though not necessarily together.

 
 

Completely off-topic, but tee hee hee.

 
Big Bad Bald Bastard
 

The detainees need to incorporate.

 
 

mods where [...] homosexual marriage is possible and a lot of clearly not-at-all bigoted douchebags have railed against the notion as that wasn’t “historically accurate”

O RLY?

 
 

new upcoming fifth edition of D&D (see, D&D keeps coming out with various editions of D&D so that each generation of loser gamer can smugly look down on the next for playing the “easy mode for babies” that “ruined the whole game”). He’s not one of the lead designers for the game and there are four full editors credited with checking over everything.

Ah, so it’s like the DSM.

 
 

We can all be thankful this nerdfight is The Worst Thing In the World now.

 
 

Nym sides with the terrorists.

 
 

Ah, so it’s like the DSM.

DSM, DMG… it’s all good.

 
Pupienus Maximus
 

I once got into an online argument with someone who was arguing that gay sex was icky,

Did you take the opportunity to inquire just how it was that he knew such a thing?

 
Pupienus Maximus
 

DSM, DMG… it’s all good.

DMT for me, please! It’s even better!

 
 

DMT for me, please! It’s even better!

Gives a new meaning to making mimosas

I grabbed a bunch of unripe black walnuts on the property at work. I’m planning on making nocino this week. My current batch of limoncello just needs to be sweetened and diluted until it can’t quite be used for rocket fuel.

 
 

Dude. Have you ever met a nerd in your life?

They add perversion and sex to everything they come into contact with. Everything.

So does this mean that back in the 70s sweet Marion & I weren’t just being adorably depraved in Grade 7 making double entendres around every third thing the teacher said? We were actually boldly advancing the Nerdish Vanguard?

YESSSSSSSSSSS.

[ twerkingstormtrooper.gif ]

 
 

* scrolls up, reads DMT comment, cackles like a loon *

 
 

A “practising philosopher” is usually just someone that confuses facility with utiltiy.
People who identify themselves thus rarely contribute anything of value to philosophy.

This one smells like a dud.

 
 

Cerb, if you think this is bad, you should see what he wrote about SyFy’s reimagining of Battlestar Galactica. Actually, no, nobody should see “More Diversity and More Perversity in the Future!” who doesn’t have a lot of spare braincells and/or anti-anxiety medication lying around, but anyone who wants to get out of the boat can follow the trail of mango pulp to where one brave soul preserved what John C. Wrong would rather we all forgot. (Frankly, I’d rather have forgotten it, but I’d rather have not had to remember John C. Wrong suffers from delusions of existence, so I don’t see why anyone else should have a good time. Message ends.)

 
 

REAL dead authors don’t make typos lol

 
 

I enjoyed reading some of Wright’s books years ago, but turned them into a local bookstore recently. This is not his first foray into being an awful person and I couldn’t read them anymore without remembering all of that.

That’s me with Orson Scott Card.

::braces for OSC Has Always Been An Asshat reminder::

 
 

It’s worth noting that one of the minor themes of his best-known series of work is the salutary moral and psychological effects of the spanking of sexually mature, but not adult, women by men in middle age to late middle age.

 
Pupienus Maximus
 

Heard on NPR ysterday,

Sociologist Kristen Schilt has spent years talking to transgender men and women about their work lives. One guy she interviewed is named Thomas. He’s a lawyer. He’d begun working at his law firm as Susan. Everyone in his firm knew about his transition, but clients and others outside the firm were told Susan had been let go.

Schilt says some time after his transition, his boss told Thomas that a lawyer at another firm said, “He was so glad they had fired Susan, who he had found to be very incompetent, but that he really loved this new guy, Thomas.”

That lawyer had no idea Thomas and Susan were the same person. But they were the same person, with the exact same abilities – Thomas just looked like a man.

http://www.marketplace.org/topics/business/transgender-female-workers-face-added-discrimination

But there’s no such thing as institutionalized misogyny, nope none.

Heh, I just noticed this

Ashley Milne-Tyte is the host of a podcast on women and the workplace called The Broad Experience.

 
 

I mean, it’s a shock apparently to Captain Heteronormative here, but gamers, and especially queer gamers have always explored the fantasy options to include trans* and queer characters as well as sex and kink and pretty much every other permutation possible. Because fantasy can be fun and it can be an opportunity to explore or craft a more idyllic world or lend a fantastical solution to real problems. I’ve certainly DM’d my share of campaigns with major trans* NPCs and several queer and trans* player characters, because I’m playing with queer geeks and that just makes sense.

What this addition is is simply spelling out what a lot of gamers already do in a section which is basically about learning how to be a gamer and think like someone who roleplays. And sure, this might be the first time this has been specifically mentioned in the rulebook in this exact section, but this isn’t exactly the first time trans* elements have been part of the canon rules.

All true and well-put. I want to bring in the relevant differences between games, video games, and pen-and-paper type role playing games.

Without getting into issues like market share, let’s say that video games are now the dominant form of gaming. Video games — even their RPG subclass — have definitely eclipsed pen-and-paper RPGs. The latter still exist, but an enormous number of gamers experience RPGs only as video games. Then there are people like me, who have extensive experience with pen-and-paper games, but logged many more hours (by this time) on computer games than would ever be possible with a group and a table.

Why does this matter? Because video games are relatively inflexible. If the programmers don’t allow you to play a female, for example, you’re out of luck. (Some PC games can be modded, but most folks won’t do that, and in any case the market is dominated by consoles and mobile apps.)

So Cerb’s participation in RPGs that include trans and queer characters is an old-school (whatever the edition) pen-and-paper thing. Those games allow maximum flexibility in terms of house rules, themes, etc. The official paragraphs in 5th ed. D&D just restate in specific terms the general principle that’s been stated ad infinitum since the early 1970s: it’s your game, if your friends will go along then knock yourself out customizing the thing. If you wanna play at a convention, you’ll be subject to official rules or the whim of the DM.

Video games, even rigid ones, sometimes offer opportunities for creative and subversive gameplay. People (especially kids) are good at finding outlets for expression. But the rigidity discourages other types of thinking — the “what ifs?” a game’s hardcoded rules don’t allow … I am old enough to remember playing chess or Life or Monopoly in ways that you can’t do electronically. So what if we weren’t playing chess properly? I don’t recall having any trouble playing it right when the time came. (D&D worked that way on a large scale: almost nobody implements all the rules, and kids are the worst (or best?) in this regard, playing games that are almost completely unrecognizable from a game-design standpoint.)

I’ll leave off with the observation that, whatever the amazing state of computer gaming, the experiences that Cerb had were important, and were made possible by old-school analogue/social gaming that is poorly served (if at all) by computer games. Even in 2014, big-budget titles that should rightly offer at least the choice of male and female avatars and shipping male-only. Whereas pen-and-paper gamers in 1975 were enjoying whatever characters and themes they wanted, and when the books started coming out the industry supported and suggested customization and creativity. ASSUMED creativity, in most cases. (Only later did business types realize that instead of selling people the means of creating collective fantasies, they could sell more through-composed “settings” etc.)

 
 

If a philosopher makes me not want to keep reading because it’s either delving into things that lie beyond my intellect or involves modelling so baroque as to imply a deleterious level of diminishing returns for whatever potential insight is propounded, that’s one thing.

Wright, on the other hand, is a practising schnook. Trite hyperbolic conclusion-leaping sludge, which will inherently tend to piss me off the more failures I detect in it.

 
 

**This reminds me of a batch of stupid surrounding a game called Crusader Kings that I used to play back when I actually had moments of free time to play video games. See, it’s a game where you play a dynasty in medieval times and you try and change history. And some modders have tried to make mods where you can allow women to have equal roles and where homosexual marriage is possible and a lot of clearly not-at-all bigoted douchebags have railed against the notion as that wasn’t “historically accurate”… in the game all about changing history.

(See, I red all the way thru!…)

Concerns about historical inaccuracy seem to arise inconsistently, hmm. Ah well, I have a suggestion in this case. These equal-roled-women modded into Crusader Kings could have chainmail bikinis. I reckon the complaints would stop and the boys would commence to marrying off their hot fantasy lesbian royals to each other.

I’m joking, but it’s true.

 
 

Put this down to Hobby Lobby Depression, general pissiness, what have you, but this

Because video games are relatively inflexible. If the programmers don’t allow you to play a female, for example, you’re out of luck.

Made my “oh, shit!” response go off.

When I was a kid, we went to school to Learn Stuff, and the time not devoted to necessary activities – like eating, sleeping, homework, chores – was largely unsupervised play. We had a geographic area we were supposed to stay in (which did not include a park), and we had to come in when the streetlights came on, but we were pretty much on our own, making up our own games or altering existing ones to suit us and the moment. We learned how to get along (or not), we learned to call bullshit (yeah, right, Pat! “red sneaks get a head start” think we didn’t notice you’re the only one with red sneaks?). We had flexibility. Seems to me kuds today have pretty much lost out on flexibility/creativity/self-determination. Their time is very regulated, the activities run by adults (who set the rules), and now you point out that the games a large number of kids (and others) play are also defined and confined by TPTB.

I get that many of these changes have really good reasons for occurring, that kids, left entirely to themselves, can and will be horrifyingly cruel to a designated target, but what are we losing by shutting off decision-making, creativity, what have you, from, expecially, kids?

 
 

Huh. “Expecially”appears to be in this machine’s vocabulary. I kinda like it. Now I have to figure out how to get it out.

 
 

Quick Henry, the Flit.

As for the inflexibility of video games, do you think it’s more of a problem now that protagonists are (ostensibly) human as opposed to little abstract things like spaceships or yellow pucks?

 
 

I’m joking, but it’s true.

All good jokes are true, that’s why right-wingers fail at comedy.

An admission that one has no life.

Says the guy who leaves fifty comments a day on these threads, only to have them all deleted.

 
 

do you think it’s more of a problem now that protagonists are (ostensibly) human as opposed to little abstract things like spaceships or yellow pucks?

Hmm. A group of kids can use a pile of (real) pucks to stand for anything. They’re tokens, yet they have a certain physicality, puckishness if you will. But the possibilities are endless. Their crudity or simplicity or lack of resemblance to other things is of little consequence.

The spaceships in Space Invaders are really crude, almost abstract. On their own I’m not even sure they’d resemble spaceships. But they’re never alone, they’re stuck in a finite little 2D world where only certain things happen. It’s a strategy game, really, not much different from Centipede. The differences don’t clearly relate to the differences between marauding alien armadas and bugs. (I haven’t played Candy Crush but I bet it’s only about candy in a superficial sense?)

I guess there’s something interesting about your question. It means something different when simulations and role-playing are bounded in socially-significant ways?… If you could create a wholly abstract game with the guts of Grand Theft Auto nobody would complain about it. In doing so you’d lose the elements that make GTA popular, though.

 
 

Trite hyperbolic conclusion-leaping sludge, which will inherently tend to piss me off the more failures I detect in it.

If your philosophical meanderings fit on a sign you can carry at a rally, you are likely not thinking things all the way through. I could be wrong, but I suspect that bumper sticker philosophy is a bit of an overly simplistic endeavor.

Internet comments, however, are objectively insightful and should put all the tough questions to rest in the next couple of years.

 
 

I only like games where you get to kill things. Where’s the fun if nobody gets hurt?

 
 

I freely admit I’m not sure how to address the gender issues in video games as I tend to prefer abstract puzzling-type games (although one I’m playing right now is one of those resource-managing shop games– Swords and Potions). And in the dear dead days of arcades, I preferred pinball– which tended to have a completely different set of issues re gender and race…

 
 

I only like games where you get to kill things. Where’s the fun if nobody gets hurt?

Does the prospect of being a triangle that eats squares to acquire points excite you? If yes, should parents and Maureen Dowd be concerned?

 
 

do you think it’s more of a problem now that protagonists are (ostensibly) human as opposed to little abstract things like spaceships or yellow pucks?

Two of my all-time favorite computer game franchises are Bungie’s real-time tactical game Myth, both The Fallen Lords and Soulblighter, and the wonderful freeware turn-based strategy game Battle for Wesnoth (seriously, download this one right now). In both games, your “units” have names, which has an odd effect in-game. I actually feel a twinge of pathos when I lose one- it’s as if I’m going to have to write a letter to inform a computer sprite that its child won’t be coming home. Tragically, people like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld didn’t even feel such a twinge of pathos when a real kid was killed in a real war for a fake cause.

 
Consumer Unit 5012
 

John C. Wright? That name sounds familiar….

Oh. THIS guy.

Well, this oughta be good for a laugh. Let’s see what he has to sayOH GOD I READ THE COMMENTS WHY DID I DO THAT

Wow, these guys are really nostalgic for the Good Old Days of 1st Ed AD&D’s Traditional Family Values(tm), with the naked succubus in the Monster Manual and the Random Prostitute Encounter Table in the DMG, ain’t they? Hilarious. And all the whining about the QUILTBAG people maybe actually existing. I’m guessing none of them have ever read any of the Exalted splatbooks, seeing how their heads remain sadly unexploded.

And then there’s this comment by Wright:
“It was to salute Antichrist, the spirit that despises what Christ suffered and died to save: men made in the image of God.”

hate to tell ya, Wright, but everyone already knew that D&D is all about the Satan-worshipping. There’s even a new documentary coming out about it! (Based on the work of noted theologian, Jack Chick.)

 
 

I really liked the Half Life series of games but Valve seems to have given up on the franchise.

I like Strike Fighters 2 (modern jet combat) and IL-2 (WWII air combat).

For strategy games I like the Total War series (Rome, Medieval, Empire, Napoleon)

I also like Kerbal Space Program

 
 

(Adjusted to White Wolf/Onyx Path house style because I’m fussy like that.)

I’m guessing none of them have ever read any of the Exalted splatbooks, seeing how their heads remain sadly unexploded.

Hell, just showing John C. Wrong the cover of Cheesecake and Cameltoe Savant and Sorcerer would make him retroactively evacuate his bowels of five years’ worth of shit, which would still probably be more coherent and useful than the column you linked. (I say “probably” because I’d have to read the column to be sure, and brain cells are not something I can afford to annihilate so casually.)

 
 

make him retroactively evacuate his bowels of five years’ worth of shit, 

When I read that, I think of this.

 
 

When I DMed (past tense, regrettably, since after 25 years, most of my group moved away and nobody wants to play 1st and 2nd ed anymore), I made players of elves explicitly declare their sexuality on the Kinsey scale along with their other stats, since even “young” 1st level elves are over 100 years old. Long enough, imo, for anyone to have swung both ways and back again before deciding who they were…

If they complained, I pointed them to the Deities and Demigods entry for Corellon Larethain.

Not that I used it in roleplaying much. The whole point was to challenge their real world assumptions about sexual orientation.

I also used to tell ‘em things like ears aren’t the only thing pointy on an elf and feet aren’t the only thing furry on a halfling and beards aren’t the only thing long on a dwarf and let them draw their own conclusions.

 
Pupienus Maximus
 

Ancient PENIS.

 
Pupienus Maximus
 

When I read that, I think of this.

The Mutter is all over Teh Intarwebz. If an of you folks are ever in Philly do visit the Mutter Museum – several floors of total WTF.

 
 

John C. Wright is a person who seems to have devoted his writing career to be the most tedious moral scold it is possible to be. I tried reading Consumer Unit’s link, but holy crap it is the worst. For those keeping score at home, all of his photos seem to show him wearing a fedora and overcoat, posing much like The Shadow.

He show a convert’s devotion to the catholic church, and not the devotion of a pagan forced at swordpoint to convert, he’s one of the dumbshits that took a look at the reductionist view of women and it’s callous indifference to (or murderous contempt of) women’s rights and health, the creepy obsession with the torture and murder of Jesus, and the rigidly authoritarian hierarchy, and said “yes please!”

 
 

I really liked the Half Life series of games but Valve seems to have given up on the franchise.

They were genuinely creepy, to a greater extent than most other FPS games I’ve played, plus there was a good amount of problem solving which didn’t involve fast-twitch muscle response.

 
 

Major, I seem to recall that you’ll be in the NYC metro area soon- what is your itinerary?

 
 

He show a convert’s devotion to the catholic church, and not the devotion of a pagan forced at swordpoint to convert, he’s one of the dumbshits that took a look at the reductionist view of women and it’s callous indifference to (or murderous contempt of) women’s rights and health, the creepy obsession with the torture and murder of Jesus, and the rigidly authoritarian hierarchy, and said “yes please!”

Those people are the worst- for them, it’s always Ash Wednesday and never Mardi Gras.

 
 

Speaking of fast-twitch muscles, which mammalian species has them in spades?:

The (redacted)’s skeletal muscle consists entirely of fast-twitch types and lacks slow fibres. (Redacted) detect, overwhelm, and kill insect prey in large numbers in darkness.

 
Pupienus Maximus
 

Damn, Germany, let them score a pity goal.

 
 

Gender changes are in there with height and wight changes too.

I figure it is just about the awkwardness, not any transphobia. It is, after all, just a story.

 
Big Bad Bald Bastard
 

Wight changes? The typo makes your comment even better!

 
Big Bad Bald Bastard
 

Just finished a batch of limoncello, getting bombed “testing” the product. I also started a batch of nocino using black walnuts I picked on the job.

This Tuesday is Boozeday.

 
 

Update: Dungeons and Rayguns. It’ll be like Game of Thrones and Star Trek all in one game. Travel to other planets and only use a sword or potion. Or Raygun I guess.

I’M PATENTING THIS IDEA SO DON’T STEAL IT.

 
 

I’M PATENTING THIS IDEA SO DON’T STEAL IT.

You’re just thirty-four years too late, tsam.

Now, get off my lawn let me out of this locker!

 
 

Major, I seem to recall that you’ll be in the NYC metro area soon- what is your itinerary?

I should get to NYC the morning of Friday the 18th and leave the evening of Monday the 21st. I’ll be staying at the Sheraton New York (Times Square).

I have the same trip August 1 – 4 as well.

This is a “one time good deal”. The only reason I could hold this line is because I was willing to work July 3-4.

 
 

Cool! My weekends are occupied by work, but I should be available Friday morning and Monday morning. Sunday morning would be doable, but rushed.

I’ve got a bottle of limoncello with your name on it, old chum.

 
 

That’s what I get for having a glass of wine with lunch. That and a nap that felt more like I slept on hammers.

Also, Myth was also one of my favorite games, but I didn’t really like the UI in Wesnoth. I prefer strategy games where when I commit to a turn then things happen, rather than hoping I click right and selected the right option.

 
 

That’s what I get for having a glass of wine with lunch. That and a nap that felt more like I slept on hammers.

I finished a batch of limoncello this afternoon- I got bombed “tasting” it to see if it was diluted enough.

 
 

I like Battle for Wesnoth but only seem to play it on a tablet, in hotels and airports. Not sure what that implies.

 
 

I also used to tell ‘em things like ears aren’t the only thing pointy on an elf and feet aren’t the only thing furry on a halfling and beards aren’t the only thing long on a dwarf and let them draw their own conclusions.

[Raises hand excitedly]: Dick, dick, and dick?

… Little known fact — a hobbit’s penis never stops growing. You gotta take him to the vet to have it trimmed. Put a fresh knothole in his cage every week or so.

 
 

Major Kong, are your flight sim interests mostly military or do you ever test drive other commercial aviation sims? PMDG makes some neat ones (like the 747-400) that are reportedly the most realistic that can be had outside of commercial flight training schools.

 
 

He show a convert’s devotion to the catholic church, and not the devotion of a pagan forced at swordpoint to convert, he’s one of the dumbshits that took a look at the reductionist view of women and it’s callous indifference to (or murderous contempt of) women’s rights and health, the creepy obsession with the torture and murder of Jesus, and the rigidly authoritarian hierarchy, and said “yes please!”

i was listening to mpr this morning and they announced the new head of the vatican bank…which as you know that much like all things catholic has been under investigation for shenanigans…i’m led to wonder:

1) why do catholics bow to the absolute power of the catholic church, but tend to balk at toeing the government line? if the pope says do this this, that’s a-okay! but if the government says to do something, it’s PERSECUTION!!! 2) between the sex cover-ups and the bank investigation, how much more proof do you need that your institution may be very, very corrupt? 3) actually, if your church has it’s own city and bank, shouldn’t that send you some sort of signal that perhaps its more of a business than a religious institution and that you are really worshipping power and greed and not jesus?

 
 

… Little known fact — a hobbit’s penis never stops growing. You gotta take him to the vet to have it trimmed. Put a fresh knothole in his cage every week or so.

im sure i could have lived all my life w/out knowing this…and trying to forget the imagery…thanks, buddy…

 
 

Major Kong, are your flight sim interests mostly military or do you ever test drive other commercial aviation sims?

I have Microsoft Flight Simulator on my PC. There are some extremely talented Russian programmers who have made some incredibly detailed models of old Soviet airliners for Flight Sim.

I spent hours trying to figure out how to start the engines on the TU-154.

 
 

puppeh update…

 
 

Well, bbkf, the natural world is full of unsettling oddities. I don’t make the rules.

 
 

Well, bbkf, the natural world is full of unsettling oddities. I don’t make the rules.

whatever you do, don’t google ‘unsettling oddities’…

 
 

You see, Tolkien didn’t just write novels, he created a whole world

 
 

An entire world with a multi thousand year history that, from the books, you’d think couldn’t find enough women to put together a women’s field hockey team.

 
 

1) why do catholics bow to the absolute power of the catholic church, but tend to balk at toeing the government line? if the pope says do this this, that’s a-okay! but if the government says to do something, it’s PERSECUTION!!!

Most catholics don’t bow to the absolute power of the church- the pub or the piazza is as much of a part of “catholic culture” as any church is. People like Wright, K-Lo, and Douthat are considered weirdos by most people who grew up Roman Catholic.

A lot of the loyalty to the church is due to cultural influences, and the fact that catholics faced genuine discrimination in this country until recently. Being catholic in this country was largely a matter of not being protestant, just as much “identity politics” as devotion. Now, with anti-catholic prejudice being rarer and the child-abuse scandals, people have become more disillusioned with the church. Even though the “new guy” is popular, church attendance in the U.S. hasn’t increased.

My drift away from the church began when I saw a couple of gay friends put through some really difficult family shit and was complete when Cardinal Ratzinger, the main guy behind covering up multiple child abuse scandals, was nominated pope.

Pax vobiscum!

 
 

An entire world with a multi thousand year history that, from the books, you’d think couldn’t find enough women to put together a women’s field hockey team.

Why should he have been different from any of the “real” history writers of his time?

 
 

Why should he have been different from any of the “real” history writers of his time?

The short answer is, because he was better than them. Tolkien’s literary body of work is an unmatched exercise in worldbuilding and fiction. No other author I know of, had or has anywhere near his grasp of language, poetry and history. My only complaints with Tolkien, that his work included rather than transcended some of the common prejudices of his time, are those of a slightly disappointed fan. He wasn’t writing those stories for me, he was writing them for himself, and to a lesser extent for bedtimes stories for his children. That they would be sold as books was probably only a tertiary concern for him. Witness his vast posthumous output, where his literary estate has found enough material in his notes to more than triple or quadruple the number of pages published in his lifetime. He was a perfectionist and it seems to me, that the relative dearth of women is a sour note in an otherwise astounding work of beauty.

 
 

Most catholics don’t bow to the absolute power of the church- the pub or the piazza is as much of a part of “catholic culture” as any church is. People like Wright, K-Lo, and Douthat are considered weirdos by most people who grew up Roman Catholic.

i’m thinking i must be quite fortunate to live amongst some pretty rare catholics, then…cuz these people are hard-core…

 
Big Bad Bald Bastard
 

There’s a reason why the catholic countries of Europe are the most fun places to visit.

 
 

1) why do catholics bow to the absolute power of the catholic church, but tend to balk at toeing the government line? if the pope says do this this, that’s a-okay! but if the government says to do something, it’s PERSECUTION!!! 2) between the sex cover-ups and the bank investigation, how much more proof do you need that your institution may be very, very corrupt? 3) actually, if your church has it’s own city and bank, shouldn’t that send you some sort of signal that perhaps its more of a business than a religious institution and that you are really worshipping power and greed and not jesus?

Hubris. The thing that has made religion a boat anchor tied around the neck of humanity since civilization began.

Catholics are horrible for it. They’ve ignored widespread child rape in their organization, and protect the assholes who do it. But of course apostasy is dealt with swiftly.

God complex, mixed with a total lack of accountability, mixed with obscene power and wealth. Just like Jesus intended.

 
 

God complex, mixed with a total lack of accountability, mixed with obscene power and wealth. Just like Jesus intended.

my sil wondered this weekend why xtians and churches have spent so many years creating the bible…i’m like, ‘uhhhhh…power…greed…’ and she was like, ‘huh…i never thought of that!’

 
 

The fact is, liberals have hate bias against the Catholic Church and want to silence it along with all religion.

 
 

The fact is, also, liberals worship Obama and do not like good morals.

 
 

power and wealth

I can recall touring St. Peter’s, looking at the fabulous artwork, and murmuring to myself “I’m not sure this is what Jesus had in mind.”

 
 

New post! It is World Cup related for reasons other than my monomaniacal focus right now…

 
 

This brought up fond memories of the eight year all-gay D&D campaign I ran. One of the PCs was an orphaned elf who had been raised by dwarves. He (the character) grew up speaking dwarvish and boinking dwarvish boys. Papa Tolkien would not have approved.

 
 
Leave a Reply
 
  (will not be published)
 
 
 
 

 
Tags

Resources