8 votes

D&D and Racism 2: Violence

10 comments

  1. [3]
    Thrabalen
    Link
    At that point, it's not really Dungeons and Dragons. The game is geared toward combat. If you remove violence and looting, there goes martial and rogue classes, for starters. In fact, I would say...

    At that point, it's not really Dungeons and Dragons. The game is geared toward combat. If you remove violence and looting, there goes martial and rogue classes, for starters. In fact, I would say there go classes altogether (without combat, mage and priest classes are left without much to do.) Interactive fiction is great, but it's a part of D&D.

    I love political intrigue as much as the next diehard roleplayer, but it's not what D&D was built on.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      mrbig
      Link Parent
      The article is basically a defense of violence in D&D so I think the author would agree.

      The article is basically a defense of violence in D&D so I think the author would agree.

      1. Thrabalen
        Link Parent
        I mistakenly made it a top level comment, when I meant to reply to the excerpt posted previously. That one's on me.

        I mistakenly made it a top level comment, when I meant to reply to the excerpt posted previously. That one's on me.

  2. [2]
    cstby
    Link
    After reading both posts, I don't think the author understands what racism is. Also, he doesn't engage any contemporary scholarship on moral philosophy. One can't simply read Kant and Plato and...

    After reading both posts, I don't think the author understands what racism is.

    Also, he doesn't engage any contemporary scholarship on moral philosophy. One can't simply read Kant and Plato and then name-drop them to have more authority.

    3 votes
    1. mrbig
      Link Parent
      I don’t think he name drops, since he actually entertains their arguments. These are just regular references.

      I don’t think he name drops, since he actually entertains their arguments. These are just regular references.

  3. [3]
    Amarok
    Link
    This presumes the game is inherently violent. I've read every edition and I can't ever recall advocacy of violence. It simply presents mechanics for combat. If you want to run a good campaign,...

    This presumes the game is inherently violent. I've read every edition and I can't ever recall advocacy of violence. It simply presents mechanics for combat. If you want to run a good campaign, evil campaign, violent campaign, or peaceful one, that's up to the group playing the game, period.

    I'm certainly not giving up on evil campaigns. Watching your players figure out how to sell an orphanage into slavery and then burn it down so nobody is looking for the children is all part of the fun.

    1 vote
    1. [2]
      Thrabalen
      Link Parent
      I can't in good faith say it doesn't advocate violence when one of your core classes is literally called "Fighter." Remove violence, and the most basic class loses all reason to exist.

      I can't in good faith say it doesn't advocate violence when one of your core classes is literally called "Fighter." Remove violence, and the most basic class loses all reason to exist.

      4 votes
      1. Amarok
        Link Parent
        Your fighter can just as easily take a disarming or disabling approach and maintain a zero casualty count as he can cut someone in half with a battleaxe. You also aren't required to use the...

        Your fighter can just as easily take a disarming or disabling approach and maintain a zero casualty count as he can cut someone in half with a battleaxe. You also aren't required to use the fighter class in your games. Subdual damage / non-lethal damage is an option anyone can use at any time.

  4. mrbig
    Link
    Discussion for the first part.

    Using Plato’s argument as a template, it is easy enough to argue that violence and looting should be removed from D&D: engaging in fictional violence and theft could corrupt people and make them more likely to behave badly in real life. I can also reuse the Kantian style argument: even if hacking up dragons and looting their hoards had no impact on people, allowing the immoral content of killing and stealing would be immoral.

    This would provide a clear argument from analogy: if D&D should be cleansed of racist elements in favor of diversity on moral grounds, then it should also be cleansed of violence and theft on moral grounds. There are two main options as to where this reasoning should take us.

    The first is to accept the analogy on its face and agree that D&D should also be cleansed of violence and theft. This would radically change the game, although there are some tales of violence-free campaigns. The second is to take this analogy as a reductio ad absurdum of the original argument. If using the same logic (what is known as parity of reasoning) leads to an absurd conclusion, then this can be taken as also refuting arguments with the same logic. A well-known example of this is philosophy is Gaunilo’s reply to St. Anselm’s ontological argument.

    Discussion for the first part.

  5. Gaywallet
    Link
    I think he spends far too long going into the specifics of kantian and plato style arguments and not enough time discussing just what racism is. It's impossible for racism to be anything but...

    I think he spends far too long going into the specifics of kantian and plato style arguments and not enough time discussing just what racism is. It's impossible for racism to be anything but immoral, which he touches on, but for a single paragraph and really just one sentence. I think he could have done a better service by spending time defining racism, as modern definitions within philosophy are much more expansive and specific than what people typically define as racist.

    For example, a white person in America choosing not to serve someone of color is racist, but someone of color in America showing preference to another person of color over a white person is not. This distinction is important because many believe the second example is racist. An easy distillation of what racism is in philosophy can be had with the definition "prejudice plus power", but in an expansive essay like this it should probably be expounded upon.