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Middle Earth behavior and you

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Re: Middle Earth behavior and you

Postby EltanimRas » Thu Jun 12, 2014 10:19 pm

Hawkwind wrote:Marlowe

Aww, Marlowe. <3

On topic, given the general reticence about sexuality in Tolkien's work, I find a character making a noisy fuss about the evils of homosexuality far more jarring than any lgbt character peaceably going about his/her/zir life. A shake of the head or a quietly raised eyebrow won't bother me, however.

OOCly, I suspect there's also a level on which I mind IG sexism less because it's easier for me to assume it's just RP, especially since it is explicitly treated in the canon. Prejudiced feelings about homosexuality, unfortunately, are still sufficiently common even in the Western world that I can't help worrying what I see IG comes as much from the players as from their characters. This, in turn, tends to make me feel OOCly uncomfortable & unwelcome, even if often unwarrantedly so.

(Also, Marlowe!)
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Re: Middle Earth behavior and you

Postby GreenRiver » Thu Jun 12, 2014 11:36 pm

Re: swearing.

This is an interesting one.

I'm a big fan of the canon, but I'm not sure I see a problem with the words "snarfagle" or "shit" being used, in moderation. Tolkien may not have used them, but that was not because the words are modern (they're not) but because as an author writing in the 1930s/40s, speaking to a 1930s/40s audience, it wouldn't have been the thing to do.
The way I see it is this: Tolkien was writing in a tone that was suitable to his own time, about a fantasy world that was supposed to be a fictional prehistory of the real world. That fictional prehistory drew heavily upon Tolkien's knowledge of North European history, language and mythology - Anglo-Saxon, Old English, Germanic, Norse etc.

As a philologist, Tolkien would certainly have been aware of the etymology of the words "shit" and "snarfagle". They have both been around for at least five hundred years (probably much longer) with "shit" having its roots in Old English, and "snarfagle", although seemingly slightly more ambiguous in its origins, having potential Old High Germanic roots.

I think they conceivably could fit in quite well for certain types of characters within the imaginary world that Tolkien was transcribing for us, (albeit in his own 1930s/40s tone).

By playing in the imagined world that Tolkien transcribed (a world whose very fabric is woven from a philologist's knowledge of old Germanic languages wherein "shit" and "snarfagle" have their place), in bringing this world to life in a realistic way, do we need also to do that in a 1930s/40s tone? I don't think so necessarily.
This does not mean that I think anacronisms work in the setting. They don't. But what is anacronistic to this imagined ancient world, and what is anacronistic to a 1930/40s sensibility are two different things.
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Re: Middle Earth behavior and you

Postby andwhatnot » Fri Jun 13, 2014 12:25 am

Hrm.

I'm going to try to be brief here. I don't know how many of the people who have shared their opinions on the homosexuality issue expect to be on the receiving end of it, but I do, so here's my 2 cp on the matter.

Sparing you all a long discussion about ergi and catholic sex rhetoric I'm just going to jump to the part where I advocate for the "it doesn't exist" model.

Which is not to say that it actually doesn't exist, we've established that, however, I feel that there is a marked distinction between ignorance regarding a minority issue and an established cultural standard of intolerance.

Frodo and Sam could walk right up to Mount Doom holding hands, and then live together after, and nobody chastised them for being a pair of queeros, largely because no one suspected they might be.

I'm not asking to have a big gay wedding in the middle of town and for everyone to come and be happy about it. I'm aware of the setting that I've chosen to play in, the whole "embracing discomfort" thing is pretty much par for the course. What I am asking for is some consideration regarding the impact of general awareness.

There is a difference between doing (or being) something that is clearly not "normal" and potentially off-putting for a variety of reasons, and doing/being something that violates an obvious social taboo.

Unfamiliarity and the personal discomforts of the characters I interact with is all good fun as far as I'm concerned, it's actually the stigma of familiarity that I have misgivings about, and would like clarification on.

TLDR version: Is being gay something everybody knows about and nobody should do, or something not generally talked about and off the radar, for the most part, amongst the straight population? (I personally prefer the latter, for what it's worth.)
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Re: Middle Earth behavior and you

Postby MrDvAnt » Fri Jun 13, 2014 12:54 am

I'm not going to quote specific posts because it takes too much time, but I don't think anyone is arguing that curse words "didn't exist" but rather that, much like today, they weren't used in polite company. If everyone runs around cursing like a sailor, then my character for one is going to have a very poor opinion of them and view them as the dregs of society and all around undesirables.

As for everything else, like I said previously, I have no problem with gay characters because we have to deal with modern sensibilities to some degree, but the bottom line when it comes to the overall argument is that everybody who says they actually have a problem with canon is still choosing to play a game that based on that canon. I think we're all aware that you have a choice about what games you play, rather than trying to change one that wants to be a certain way you can always go find one that already suits those needs. If you think Tolkien was a terrible person and Middle Earth as he wrote it is flawed...then why are you playing in it?
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Re: Middle Earth behavior and you

Postby GreenRiver » Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:24 am

MrDvAnt wrote:I don't think anyone is arguing that curse words "didn't exist" but rather that, much like today, they weren't used in polite company. If everyone runs around cursing like a sailor, then my character for one is going to have a very poor opinion of them and view them as the dregs of society and all around undesirables.


I think their usage was originally neutral, without the vulgar connotations they have now. However, I accept that it's difficult to avoid those connotations as a modern person, reading the words.

Personally I think it depends on what type of character you're playing, and how the words are used. Dunedain, elves, hobbits? Admittedly I would find that jarring. Rough, rugged, rustic Wilderland types? I wouldn't have a problem with it, though I think it's more likely the words would have been used with their original meanings, rather than the catch-all expletives they have now become.
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Re: Middle Earth behavior and you

Postby Onasaki » Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:43 am

I'm going to chime in here for a second.

I'm going to explicitly state: Saying Homosexuality doesn't exist is extremely rude, and disgusting. It's been said, specifically, by several other people, and the admins, that it's allowed. And will be allowed, so I ask we move away from that subject entirely.

/startramble

I think what's happening here, is that people are focusing solely on what is and isn't canon. Personally? I say screw exact canon. Nothing is going to be exact, because there really is no exact.

Certain things weren't mentioned. The books were written in the 30s and 40s for children. And Tolkien clearly had specific ideas, and general beliefs. He was also very British, and had very specific values.

Like someone said earlier, remember that we're talking about 30s/40s England, and the standards of that time. Things like swearing, and such, they happened. Infact, if you've ever read Oliver Twist, it happened a lot, even before the 20th century.

I just honestly think we should make this game our own. Keep canon as a guideline, rather then an exact. And RP a medieval type world, like it probably would have been. There have been plenty of MUDs that have successfully managed to do medieval RP with the equality of men and women. I can name them, but I would rather not be accused of advertising, and I think some people here probably know which MUDs I'm talking about.

There's no reason to be snippy, rule-thumping, or otherwise focused on makign the game ALL about what's canon and not canon. SOI worked well how it was in it's previous incarnation, and it can work again in it's newer one.

We don't need to sit here and argue what is and isn't right.

This game is our game.

It's not Tolkien's game. Though we have his legal permission to run it. It's never going to be perfect, and it damn well shouldn't be.

It should be what we make it. /endramble
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Re: Middle Earth behavior and you

Postby LadyMizra » Fri Jun 13, 2014 2:17 am

Also, to Nyneve, to say that because Tolkien did not mention something in his books meant it is not 'canon' and should not be in the game, seems really silly. Okay, so Tolkien never mentioned people with six finger deformities, so I can't play a char with six fingers? Come on. And Tolkien wrote his books in a different time, and his audience was children. We have to keep that in mind. While the canon of what happened, the people, the places, etc, we should take and use, not everything about his own personal viewpoints and beliefs should be in the game.
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Re: Middle Earth behavior and you

Postby EltanimRas » Fri Jun 13, 2014 4:51 am

andwhatnot wrote:TLDR version: Is being gay something everybody knows about and nobody should do, or something not generally talked about and off the radar, for the most part, amongst the straight population? (I personally prefer the latter, for what it's worth.)

It may be clear already from my earlier post -- in which case I apologize for the redundancy -- but I'm fine with this second option as well. I'm fine with a range of potentially more-or-less standard vnpc reactions: denial, puzzlement, skepticism, mild distaste, friendly curiosity, subject-changing, indifference, etc.

I'm also okay with, albeit not ecstatic about, individual pcs (or npcs) having stronger opinions. But if the vnpc baseline were at an "I'm not sitting at the same table as that guy" level of homophobia, that would make me (OOCly) uncomfortable.

ETA, on everyone's favorite 4-letter swearwords: If our goal is simply to create an experience of ordinary people living and working in Middle-earth, I don't think they're a problem. If, however, we want to go one step farther and re-create some of the atmosphere of the books as well, then some adaptation may be in order.
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Re: Middle Earth behavior and you

Postby Icarus » Fri Jun 13, 2014 5:36 am

vNPC Baseline is, "Oh, look how great friends they are!"

It ranges from there to puzzlement.

VNPCs are not zealots, nor are PCs. They most likely don't give a damn about your personal life. Nor are they out to change anyone.

There is no bible, or church that is banging around a morality drum; it's just likely cultural norms. Small village folk probably haven't been exposed to many folks who aren't their standard regular woodsmen-types.
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Re: Middle Earth behavior and you

Postby Icarus » Fri Jun 13, 2014 5:37 am

As for cursing, I just like feck, shite, arse, etc better than snarfagle, shit, ass.

It feels more IG.
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Re: Middle Earth behavior and you

Postby Letters » Fri Jun 13, 2014 5:43 am

Feck. One of Ireland's most widespread contributions to the world.
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Re: Middle Earth behavior and you

Postby kestrel » Fri Jun 13, 2014 6:28 am

EltanimRas wrote:I'm fine with a range of potentially more-or-less standard vnpc reactions: denial, puzzlement, skepticism, mild distaste, friendly curiosity, subject-changing, indifference, etc.

I'm also okay with, albeit not ecstatic about, individual pcs (or npcs) having stronger opinions. But if the vnpc baseline were at an "I'm not sitting at the same table as that guy" level of homophobia, that would make me (OOCly) uncomfortable.



I just wanted to emphasize this post, because I agree with it very strongly.

Seeing two gay PCs might cause the same amount of general distress as seeing someone constantly having conversations with their cat. And if a gay PC were a military leader (or if a female PC were a military leader), the soldiers beneath them might have initial misgivings similar to if their officer were someone who constantly talked with his cat. But in both situations the officer's competency would probably turn the other issues into background noise, and he (or she) would be respected (or not) based on quality of leadership.

That's what I'd prefer to see, anyway, and old-timers know that I'm typically as rigid about canon as anyone.
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Re: Middle Earth behavior and you

Postby Icarus » Fri Jun 13, 2014 6:33 am

^ This. This is a good analogy.

No one is going to be running around saying, ZOMG THEY ARE GAY KICK THEM FROM THE GUARD!

It's more like, "Well... Tom's a bit of a whoopsie, but hell can he swing a sword!" *catcall from the back* "That's what HE said!"
[Petition: Player] I am ready to begin my interdimensional adventure.

A mutilated little orc murmurs, nodding as he mutters,
"I fought good today. Yuh. Fought good, 'specially for bein' the kitchen-snaga. Yuh, I did."
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Re: Middle Earth behavior and you

Postby Hawkwind » Fri Jun 13, 2014 7:31 am

Icarus wrote:^ This. This is a good analogy.

No one is going to be running around saying, ZOMG THEY ARE GAY KICK THEM FROM THE GUARD!

It's more like, "Well... Tom's a bit of a whoopsie, but hell can he swing a sword!" *catcall from the back* "That's what HE said!"


But what if they fail as a leader, they are the weakest soldier?
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Re: Middle Earth behavior and you

Postby MrDvAnt » Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:12 am

Onasaki wrote:I'm going to chime in here for a second.



I think what's happening here, is that people are focusing solely on what is and isn't canon. Personally? I say screw exact canon. Nothing is going to be exact, because there really is no exact.


Like someone said earlier, remember that we're talking about 30s/40s England, and the standards of that time. Things like swearing, and such, they happened. Infact, if you've ever read Oliver Twist, it happened a lot, even before the 20th century.

I just honestly think we should make this game our own. Keep canon as a guideline, rather then an exact. And RP a medieval type world, like it probably would have been. There have been plenty of MUDs that have successfully managed to do medieval RP with the equality of men and women. I can name them, but I would rather not be accused of advertising, and I think some people here probably know which MUDs I'm talking about.



We don't need to sit here and argue what is and isn't right.

This game is our game.

It's not Tolkien's game. Though we have his legal permission to run it. It's never going to be perfect, and it damn well shouldn't be.

It should be what we make it. /endramble


I removed the parts I had no problem with but what's left above is what I, and some others, see as the problem. I'll address them in order.

1. If you want to "screw canon" there are generic fantasy muds out there you can go play that don't have this setting.

2. The cursing in Oliver Twist illustrates what I said earlier. No on said it didn't exist, just that it's not used in polite company. The people in Oliver Twist were not necessarily good people.

3. It's not actually "our game". It's the admins' game. It's their sandbox and we aren't here to pee in it. I'll admit I haven't made a study of other countries' constitutions and rights, but here in the US where I live we don't actually have a right to have everything our way. We have a word for people who think we do, it's self-entitled.

I'll try to explain this one more time and I'll change my words a bit since I'm not getting through. The people who are here because they want to play in a Tolkien mud feel the way they do because they love Tolkien's world. Regardless of whether you think it's skewed or unrealistic, the underlying theme of his work was a sense of human nobility standing up against the forces of evil. That's the theme. Some of us are here because this is the ONLY place we can hope to play this sort of mud. Those of you who aren't interested in that aspect of the game have several other muds to choose from that you don't have to come in and change from what they are.

Just to be clear, I'm not in favor of people leaving. We all know we want as many players as possible. It's just that in modern society, when pointing out absolutes such as "if you don't like it, don't do it" it often is seen as rude because not many people like to remember that life is often full of stark, unadorned choices. So, rather than trying to say we don't want certain types of people, I'm more trying to say "why don't you try playing it as it is" rather than trying to change it to suit your exact desires.
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Re: Middle Earth behavior and you

Postby EltanimRas » Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:46 am

MrDvAnt wrote:Those of you who aren't interested in [Tolkien] have several other muds to choose from that you don't have to come in and change from what they are.

Tolkien canon does and should have a special place in SoI, absolutely. But the world isn't exactly rolling in low-magic fantasy RPIs with viable pbases. Or, sadly, in RPIs of any kind.

p.s. Thanks to everybody involved for the patience & clarifications on the sexuality question; both are much appreciated.
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Re: Middle Earth behavior and you

Postby MrDvAnt » Fri Jun 13, 2014 9:20 am

EltanimRas wrote:
MrDvAnt wrote:Those of you who aren't interested in [Tolkien] have several other muds to choose from that you don't have to come in and change from what they are.

Tolkien canon does and should have a special place in SoI, absolutely. But the world isn't exactly rolling in low-magic fantasy RPIs with viable pbases. Or, sadly, in RPIs of any kind.

p.s. Thanks to everybody involved for the patience & clarifications on the sexuality question; both are much appreciated.


Maybe not, but there are a few muds out there to choose from that don't proclaim to be based on established works that some people seem to find distasteful or uninteresting.
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Re: Middle Earth behavior and you

Postby Onasaki » Fri Jun 13, 2014 10:41 am

Just to make one more point, then I'm done with this thread:

When I said screw canon, I meant, that canon should not be the exact rulebook. It should be a guideline, that we use to create fun and interesting RP that while keeps the Tolkien feel, and vibe, still illustrates creativity, the ability to RP in a low-magic fantasy world, without anyone smashing a book onto someone's head and saying "NO. THIS. IS WRONG."

I'm just honestly sick of that mindset. And while it's the admin's game? It's STILL our game, because we're the ones that make the stories, adventures, and lore. The admins build the game, and make it fun for everyone, without us there would be no game, just a port filled with fancy toys.

It is us that make still up the stories, and make the world feel real. If the game doesn't feel at least, somewhat real, then no one is going to want to play. It'll devolve into hack and slash, and die off.

All I want, is to have fun, and not have to worry about whether something is going to get me in trouble for being canon or not canon. And I don't want lore created over 10+ years to go to waste because someone says it's not correct, because that's a waste of good writing.

I'm done now.
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Re: Middle Earth behavior and you

Postby hobbitboots » Fri Jun 13, 2014 12:13 pm

My take on the canon issue is that we should adhere to canon by default, and we should only depart from it when we've got a compelling reason to do so.

This is stating the obvious, but yeah, people come here to play a Tolkien mud. That's the main thing that differentiates this RPI from others out there. As a guiding principle, we should stick to canon.

I don't think we should adhere to just one strict interpretation of Tolkien's writings though. You're kidding yourself if you think there's only one true way.

Taking that flexibility even further, I think we should be willing to (sparingly) depart from canon if its for the good of the game. If you stick strictly to canon, you would be alienating whole groups of people: non-whites, women, LGBTs...
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Re: Middle Earth behavior and you

Postby sod » Fri Jun 13, 2014 12:28 pm

As a member of a couple of the categories above which are probably out of canon for Tolkien, I don't think it would be reasonable to say they simply don't exist. That would mostly exclude women in traditionally masculine roles, homosexual orientations, non-heteronormative gender binaries, etc. I know that's not what admins are saying, and it seems like there is a general consensus that it would be a bad idea to put hard limits on it. That's great.

I did want to address Onasaki's objections a bit. In RL, discrimination is really terrible, and we should (as responsible adults) generally object to sexism, racism, homophobia, so on. With that set aside, Tolkien wrote a fantasy world, and we're here to write compelling stories within it. I think then, if someone was to write with the themes of say, homosexuality, or have a character whose role doesn't match with their gender as it's been illustrated in Tolkien's world, they should write it in a manner that A.) embraces the adversity it might generate as a tool for drama, and B.) expect others to react as they might from the perspective of one who hasn't had all of the great social conflicts and advances we have had as modern, non-Tolkien fantasy setting people.

In short, I would feel uncomfortable and a bit excluded if women in non-traditional roles and homosexuality outright didn't exist in this setting. But we're playing in the Tolkien-verse, as people who, like Nyneve, really love the setting. I intend on playing the themes I know and love, although perhaps discretely, and I anticipate there being tensions and reactions from being one of those 'oddballs' who are 'such great friends with so and so and aren't they ever going to marry some nice lumberjack?'. I see these tensions and confusions as being a benefit to a story, rather than the oppression of my freedoms as a player.
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Re: Middle Earth behavior and you

Postby LadyMizra » Fri Jun 13, 2014 12:49 pm

In a lighthearted note...

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Re: Middle Earth behavior and you

Postby Nyneve » Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:03 pm

LadyMizra wrote:Also, to Nyneve, to say that because Tolkien did not mention something in his books meant it is not 'canon' and should not be in the game, seems really silly. Okay, so Tolkien never mentioned people with six finger deformities, so I can't play a char with six fingers? Come on. And Tolkien wrote his books in a different time, and his audience was children. We have to keep that in mind. While the canon of what happened, the people, the places, etc, we should take and use, not everything about his own personal viewpoints and beliefs should be in the game.



That isn't exactly what I said. What I said was--here, I'll quote myself.

Nyneve wrote:Technically, it's just never mentioned, so technically he never says there isn't homosexuality either


The Hobbit was written for children; the other books were not, so much. If you've read them, all you need is to make it through the language of the first few pages to understand that.

And now I'm going to repeat my other points:
-It's your prerogative. Do whatever the hell you want.
-I was answering a series of questions, not setting boundaries. That isn't my place or my intention.
-It's your prerogative. Do whatever the hell you want.
-That said, don't get butthurt when ICly, I react the way I believe Tolkien-true characters would have reacted to whatever it is you're doing.
-IG bigotry/prejudice/etc. is not the same thing as OOC bigotry/prejudice/etc. Do not lump me or anyone else who chooses to play our PCs in a way that aligns with Tolkien into a homophobic, misogynistic, Westboro-Baptist-Church-esque group. It isn't fair and it isn't right. Just because someone plays a criminal doesn't make that person a convict.
-It's your prerogative. Do whatever the hell you want.
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Re: Middle Earth behavior and you

Postby Stoneturtle » Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:12 pm

kestrel wrote:Seeing two gay PCs might cause the same amount of general distress as seeing someone constantly having conversations with their cat. And if a gay PC were a military leader (or if a female PC were a military leader), the soldiers beneath them might have initial misgivings similar to if their officer were someone who constantly talked with his cat. But in both situations the officer's competency would probably turn the other issues into background noise, and he (or she) would be respected (or not) based on quality of leadership.

That's what I'd prefer to see, anyway, and old-timers know that I'm typically as rigid about canon as anyone.


This works for me. I'm a canon person too, but even though we accept the canon as true, it doesn't mean it's all the truth there is.

BTW...HI KESTREL! *hug*
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Re: Middle Earth behavior and you

Postby soiacc » Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:29 pm

Whoa...can I take my question back?

Here's the thing that I don't understand, if we aren't going to change the canon on homosexuality than I would expect us not to change the canon on female equality. Period. Being homosexual is as much a choice as being born female. If you choose to play a woman, you should have to have the consequences as if you choose to play someone who is gay. Now, if you you want to say, oh, but men and women are 100% equal, then you would have to say the same thing for homosexuals. If you're going to stretch it for one, it should be for both. I honestly think that, because there's no bible, homosexuality wouldn't be seen as odd. We know that there are animals in nature who have shown homosexual behavior and we know that there isn't a country in the world that doesn't have gays. Without the stigma of it being called a sin, it's nothing more than another way of living. I honestly think there's more leeway for gays than women because women -are- mentioned and their status pretty much spelled out. Dwarven women never leave their homes unless they really have to, there were no hobbit women on the trip, the only elven and human women were queens and princesses, who everyone knows get to be a little more special than regular women in stories. I personally only play male characters, though I have played a couple women and I would rather see Mel and Ron or May and June who roleplay their relationship without the -need- to make it a big deal or have people whispering about it, no more than they would any other young couple. It wouldn't be an issue, it wouldn't even be their main goal. Living their life would. I think saying oh, you can play that, but expect to get ridiculed, that's just even more beyond canon than being gay. I never saw any of the hobbits or any of the good guys say one really mean thing to any of the people they came across and if Frodo could be kind to Sméagol without a hint of malice, shouldn't we strive to behave as such? The others acted, for the most part, with acceptance and kindness and I think -that- is how we should act, because that -is- canon.

Just my two cents.
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Re: Middle Earth behavior and you

Postby WorkerDrone » Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:36 pm

KINDNESS: THE MUD.

That actually sounds like a novel idea. Players won't fully adhere to it because everyone wants to RP an asshole, surprisingly, but the need to persecute homosexuals or women in the Tolkien-verse just doesn't seem to be all that high up there with the need to battle the forces of Good or Evil. Yeah, I do mean this for both sides. Bad guys aren't going to shun a pair of swordarms just because Blit and Gruul like making out in their off-hours.

And Mary and Jane aren't going to get the boot out of their sewing circle just because they like holding hands on the weekends. Why? Because it's a small world filled with dangers, on the edge of the Heart of Darkness, and you can't really afford to loudly and belligerently be prejudiced.
I hope you die right now, will you drink my chemical?

Brian wrote:See, the thing that I admire about WorkerDrone is that he's an optimist!

:lol:
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