what sort of content is allowed in your books? For example: bad language, graphic scenes, etc
Hi @straken24 -
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Thank you for the fast reply and of course for the link.
As long as you specify that those kinds of things are in your book ,you’re good to go.
The only restriction on content that I have been able to find(for Hosted Games anyway), is this line:
“Games must not contain deeply offensive material, such as scenes that glorify sexual violence or racist attitudes.”
So, almost everything “mundane” is allowed, as far as I understood. Unless I’m misinterpreting it, it’s okay for the work to contain “neutral” or condemning depictions of sexual violence or racism, or torture or politics or such, as long as it isn’t glorifying it.
Of course, that’s incredibly subjective. What sort of content is actually glorifying something? Is it any content at all that deals with it? Or is it content that has the potential to glorify it from the players perspective(a choice that says “I love X and hate Y”)? Or is it glorifying only if the general theme of the game is like that? What if the villain holds an attitude like that? Is that okay, because the villain has it(and thus by definition it’s considered wrong)?
I’d assume that it’s not okay to have one branch that condemns racism, but another that glorifies it, since the game would still contain the glorifying scene, and thus it would contain deeply offensive material, regardless of what the intent is. But about the other details, I have no idea. And frankly, I’d like to know, since it’d be nice to have a clear guideline before I get into actually writing what I’m planning to write.
For example, I’d really like to know the general consensus on what is considered racist. In a fantasy or scifi game, can I have a scene about tension between humans and cyborgs? Is it okay to touch on the ethics of genetic engineering(of humans) or artificial intelligence? Is it okay to be racist against orcs or other “monstrous” creatures? If yes, how are such creatures defined? Is it okay only if they’re non-humanoid(like dragons or slimes or such)? Or is that wrong as well?
A more practical example: I’m currently thinking of a cyberpunk setting where there are artificial humans that have been produced by a biotech company. Is it glorifying racism if the general populace fears them due to their perceived superiority or because they feel threatened by them? On the other hand, is it glorifying racism if these artificial humans feel superior to regular humans? Should I just gloss over everything related to such things? It would feel very strange from an immersion perspective, as such things would probably be relevant to the setting and the characters.
I think in the case of fictional forms of oppression and discrimination, toxic ideas encouraged by the game will still read as a glorification of whatever discrimination (racism, sexism, trans and homophobia, etc) the fictional scenario most closely resembles.
I feel like with a lot of dnd-esc fantasy games and worlds being even more popular lately, this is being addressed a lot more. But I’ve noticed a lot of ~fantasy~ forms of cultural bias just seem like ways for content creators to sneak characters being racist without having to answer for including racists in their made up world.
One popular example would be orcs vs elves. Orcs (in dnd at least) are commonly depicted as savages, extremely unintelligent despite being a playable character, (half-orcs at least? idr if my orc character is homebrew or not) and are shown in official art far more often with darker skin, locks, and other characteristics commonly associated with black people compared to other playable race, besides dark elves who are also an “evil” race.
Elves on the other hand are seen as one of the most intelligent races…there are non-white elf sub-races that canonically exist (sun elves) but the majority of official and fan art still depict them as pretty much European humans with pointy ears, usually complete with platinum-blonde hair and a gentle naturalistic (if not a little stuck up) attitude towards life.
It could, and has been argued that this narrative enforces a racist belief by depicting the evil creatures in the world as a black/non-white caricature, complete with pointy teeth and broken English, while most of the hero or adventurer roles go to the pale, more civilized race. Does this make dnd inherently racist? Absolutely not. Does the popular depiction of medieval-fantasy settings generally have racist ideals mixed into it? Yeah! Do I think content creators mean to promote harmful ideas every time they do this? No. Its just an incredibly popular mistake that people can make with the best intentions. The important thing is trying to avoid it, and being able to apologize and fix any mistakes you do make.
Addressing issues surrounding oppression and discrimination indirectly can get messy very quickly, and I think iffy material is more likely to get approved in a fantasy setting because its not blatantly horrible. Still, almost every fantasy scenario can be applied to the real world as a metaphor, and you need to be ready for that and any message your game might be giving that you don’t want to give!
You can’t please everybody all of the time. There are people out there who evidently see it as their duty to be permanently offended and all you can really do is hope they overlook your contribution to society and go and pick on someone else.