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Archlyte

I don't care much for alien species as PC's

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1 hour ago, Vondy said:

If you are going to have many different species and explore each, then planning it this way from the outset is the way to go!

Essentially, you have to decide what the campaign's structure will be before you being.

In an episodic game, or a game of serial arcs, what you are describing can work very well.

Its when you have an ongoing meta-plot or a campaign about heroes achieving a long-term "epic goal" that it becomes problematic.

Ergo, is your story a one-off "anthology film" or a part of the "trilogy of trilogies"?

I may have made it out to seem more grandiose than it is.  What I have planned for each Character is basically a session (or two) to wrap up one of their starting obligations. Which incidentally are somewhat specific to their race. The session is emended into the main story by way of clues from main NPCs and also, "Hey your obligation is triggering, do you want to go check it out? Not right not? okay." I guess this means it is somewhat of a "side quest" but I have a few ideas of how to tie parts into the larger game, but that kind of depends on the PCs. If the characters want to explore more I'll roll with it.

Conveniently in fact, they all took slight variations of family obligation (prepare yourselves PC's, its about to get familial up in this B*tch..."Luke I am your father" reveals here I come!)

*Edit: I also only have 3 players, so we are not overwhelmed with personal stories.

Edited by ThreeAM

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1 hour ago, korjik said:

?

I said different people look at aliens differently. 

I said people who play flat characters play flat characters.

I said people who dont play flat characters dont play flat characters.

I said that different people have different limits on what aliens they will allow.

That is all I said. I specifically didnt say you capitulated, or anything like it, just that your view is different than others.

Well then I am sorry because I read through your post and mistook your meaning. I agree with all of your points. 

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2 hours ago, 2P51 said:

If you look that dude up he does amazing things with that toy bow.  It's not a real bow, he'd need to be Steve Rogers to pull an actual recurve back like he does, but he does do some crazy stuff. He does however need some friends to tell him to quit with his running and jumping stuff because he reminds me more of this....

It sure looks like a real, low poundage bow with a real string and those look like real aluminum arrows...  But hey, to each their own!  If anything's a toy, it's his draw hand form.  But now I'm dragging us off topic again.

 

 

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6 hours ago, Archlyte said:

Thanks for the post. I think that you bring up a good point and since I am a white male it would stand to reason that the Star Wars Movie characters are as easy as it gets for me as far as being able to relate. If you feel somewhat disconnected with them then that only makes my point more salient. In this thread I am saying that what we are most like is what we will be able to most easily relate to, and in my decades of GMing I haven't seen enough of the opposite to be able to believe that I'm not correct here.

you don't understand, and that's unfortunate.

6 hours ago, Archlyte said:

Do you see yourself as black/brown/other equally beautiful color 

this is a weird thing to say

6 hours ago, Archlyte said:

So why would playing a human who looks like you in skin color not be more comfortable than say a Gand or a Trandoshan?

As I do not identify with a culture it's easier for me to just say they are human and therefore like me. 

1. Stereotypes are what you see almost always when they play an alien. Typically you get the stereotype, or you get the re-skinned human. 

here's the thing, looking like me is not enough, i can do a recolor of luke if i want and pretend he is a brown person rather than white, many fans of color that i encounter believe he should have been played by a tunisian considering his heritage is based on tatooine which was filmed in tunisia, but if i do that to luke without changing his character then he would just be a reskinned white human, and whether you identify with a culture or not, you do definitely have one, no one is devoid of culture, even if your culture is solely that of a white american male, and that is what you have seen in media all your life. If i were to play a human like me i would have to develop their culture in the same way i would have to develope an alien culture because the way humans are written in media is from the perspective of white culture, part of this is why it is easier to simply play an alien because i don't have to deal with anyone's biases or prejudices that cause them to react towards the actual development of human characters outside the lens of white culture.

6 hours ago, Archlyte said:

2. While I love the idea of the multicultural Star Wars Galaxy, I also feel that as a device it is there primarily to add a feel to the scenes. In the original movie the crew (which is a bunch of white guys in the 70's) said that they felt that the aliens in the cantina scene added that feeling of being in a strange place, kind of like a middle eastern port city with a great variety of types of travelers. I don't restrict people from exploring those exotic things so much as I want them to give me the basic elements first before we tack on the garnish. 

yes and people of color have been used in the same way to provide an exotic back drop to white characters in media as well, and as a palestinian, one of those middle eastern people you mentioned being used as an exotic backdrop, i think the point should be obvious, but in case it isn't, the treatment of alien characters that you are describing is the same treatment provided to poc in media, as exotic backdrops for the white main characters. 

6 hours ago, Archlyte said:

My biases are not going away, but neither are yours. I'm afraid I am not that good at spontaneous multi-tasking that I can deliver on the fly content for the game while also filtering for biases. If I feel like Wookiees are going to take something a certain way when the players do it then to be honest that is probably the way that scene will play out. I would love to say that I have two editors in my head working feverishly to make sure what I say isn't going to suck, but that's not the way it's ever been for me. I can do that kind of thing in interpersonal interactions at work, but even then it requires near-complete focus as well as the ability to know where I am going.

would you consider this as an acceptable way to play human npc's of color, if you had an arab npc would it be acceptable to portray them by western stereotypes that white americans view arabs through, or would that be offensive and lazy GMing?

6 hours ago, Archlyte said:

I don't supply an arc for anyone outside of what happens in the games as the natural outcome, but I asked that question because I wanted to know if the characters being referred to were flat characters or if they demonstrated some dynamic qualities other than mechanical advancement. I did find your post very interesting and thought provoking, as I had not considered cultural viewpoints from participants, and that was an oversight on my part. Each person brings their own experiences to the table, but over tens of years you sometimes get tired of the same things and want to push for new horizons.

here's the thing though, if you aren't supporting the arcs for your characters, and you aren't going out of your way to filter biases in gameplay, then letting things happen naturally means that only the characters who you have positive biases to are likely going to have their own character arcs, basically, if you treat a character like a sidekick they are going to be a sidekick, that's as easy as i can say it. 

and maybe trying something new could get you to push those new horizons you are assuming that "exotic characters" can't portray. 

Edited by Norr-Saba

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1 hour ago, Yaccarus said:

I shall not rest until this is resolved!

I admit that I made the mistake of spelling Wookiee with one E for years. If you fault everyone on the internet for spelling errors, you will... well... you get the idea.

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1 hour ago, kaosoe said:

I admit that I made the mistake of spelling Wookiee with one E for years. If you fault everyone on the internet for spelling errors, you will... well... you get the idea.

Slowly but surely, the population shall be taught the proper spelling.

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I agree that SW is white human centric. I will.also point out that Lando could have been a white human character for how he is portrayed and acts. In that sense it would seem to me that racism is not so prevalent in the original trilogy. Leia treats chewacca as a clear inferior (and he does not get a medal in the final ceremony) and droids are clearly slaves, so basically for me SW is a universe quite rampant with species-cism and slavery as the norm, just that this is not so true between humans of different races. I guess that when you can have a large slugg mafia boss by your side, Lando and Luke look VERY similar to you. After all humans would say that a blue and a gray twilek are the same, so I guess other people think the same about humans so do they. 

/Rant

 

Cheers,

Xavi

 

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8 hours ago, MonCal said:

I agree that SW is white human centric. I will.also point out that Lando could have been a white human character for how he is portrayed and acts.

I hear you, but... I kind of liked that in terms of human ethnicity, Star Wars was essentially neutral.  Lando was a certain kind of Smuggler, a Charmer/Gambler if you like, as opposed to Han's Pilot/Scoundrel.  He was smooth and a bit of a ladies-man, less of a tough-guy.  I don't feel that being especially 'black' (in a real world sense) would have made him a better character - It wold have likely made things worse if he was stereotypically 'black' and sounded like someone from 'I'm Gonna Get You Sucker!'  (a great movie because it parodies the Blaxploitation films of the StarWars era). I mean, George Lucas has a bit of a bad habit of doing that, so it's well he left that alone here.  Billy Dee Williams is a black actor, but Lando isn't 'African-American' because Africa and America are not a thing in a galaxy far, far away.

Also, we see that non-humans can have different ethnicities; Femi Taylor as Oola only has a small role but we won't ever forget her.  There are actresses these days like Zoe Saldana who specialise in playing exotically-beautiful non-humans.  

Our character base has a few non-white human characters,  and three non-white players (Chris, our 'black guy', is particularly outspoken about this as he feels his love of sci-fi and general geekiness is what defines him, rather than his skin colour, and he preferred Han to Lando. He liked Oola though, everyone does!).  Nobody expects real-world ethnic accents though, because that's not really a StarWars thing (and when it is, it's usually cringe-worthy, especially as we see in Phantom Menace).   

(It's actually notable when we get art done of the characters. Some artists draw the brown-skinned characters as white people with dark skin, others accurately depict their ethnic, non-Caucasian features as described by their players.  Sometimes the players imagine a specific actress when designing a character (our zabrak is supposed to look like Rihanna Fenty, Professor Inari is supposed to look like exotically-mixed-race singer Cassie Ventura).  Our AoR heavy-hitter was modelled on both actress Gina Torres and the concept of Moses Hightower from 'Police Academy', of all things... She was initially intended to be a scarred, middle-aged veteran but the player went with the fact that every artist wants to depict her as a 25-year-old Playmate, and just caved in to the pressure.  )

Add to that the fact that culture and ethnicity are two very different things.  A black guy who was the son of a poor white 1930s sharecropper would have very different values from one who was adopted by a warlord in feudal japan.  Desslok mentioned recently he had a twi'lek character who wasn't raised as one and couldn't even use her lekku properly, let alone a work a stripper pole :)

Edited by Maelora

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59 minutes ago, MonCal said:

Err.... Did you miss what I said after that original sentence? :) 

No, I'm agreeing with you, I liked your post.

I was just elaborating I guess.  The MarcyVerse is full of inter-species tensions and species-ism.

I need a distraction from my washing machine exploding. Pesky 'Bad Motivator' talent...

Edited by Maelora

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On 26/09/2017 at 5:30 PM, Archlyte said:

See, I think that humans are the main characters in every movie on purpose. They are the characters that we can most readily identify with, and therefore they are the characters that players are almost always going to identify with if the character is made with care. The Aliens and Robots are what players choose when they don't really feel like identifying with a character, so they tack on a crazy head or play as a machine. This isn't what I want, but it's what I have noticed over the years in various role-playing games. 

Not really sure what you mean by culture lol. 

I'm just reading the The Empire Strikes Back: So You Want to Be a Jedi? book. In it, the writer writes about why always in stories the main character is always (well, usually) the least colourful character. Luke is less interesting than Han or Leia in star wars. We know more about Samwais than Frodo. Harry Potter has less personal traits than Hermione or Ron. The reason is exactly what you said. More clearly the main character is defined, fewer people can relate to him. And this is not new phenomenon. Cincerella is fairly flat character, as are most heroes and heroines in fairy tales. May this have affected us as players? It's not long ago when hero of a movie was practically always (99% of time) a white male. That is often true still, but IMO there has been more exceptions in this century. Someone who has studied writing could probably speak more in-depth about this whole phenomenon.

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2 hours ago, Maelora said:

I kind of liked that in terms of human ethnicity, Star Wars was essentially neutral.

You realize that do to the biases that exist in our society, at least western society in which this media is produced, ethnically neutral means white. 

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On ‎9‎/‎29‎/‎2017 at 5:14 PM, Norr-Saba said:

you don't understand, and that's unfortunate.

this is a weird thing to say

here's the thing, looking like me is not enough, i can do a recolor of luke if i want and pretend he is a brown person rather than white, many fans of color that i encounter believe he should have been played by a tunisian considering his heritage is based on tatooine which was filmed in tunisia, but if i do that to luke without changing his character then he would just be a reskinned white human, and whether you identify with a culture or not, you do definitely have one, no one is devoid of culture, even if your culture is solely that of a white american male, and that is what you have seen in media all your life. If i were to play a human like me i would have to develop their culture in the same way i would have to develope an alien culture because the way humans are written in media is from the perspective of white culture, part of this is why it is easier to simply play an alien because i don't have to deal with anyone's biases or prejudices that cause them to react towards the actual development of human characters outside the lens of white culture.

yes and people of color have been used in the same way to provide an exotic back drop to white characters in media as well, and as a palestinian, one of those middle eastern people you mentioned being used as an exotic backdrop, i think the point should be obvious, but in case it isn't, the treatment of alien characters that you are describing is the same treatment provided to poc in media, as exotic backdrops for the white main characters. 

would you consider this as an acceptable way to play human npc's of color, if you had an arab npc would it be acceptable to portray them by western stereotypes that white americans view arabs through, or would that be offensive and lazy GMing?

here's the thing though, if you aren't supporting the arcs for your characters, and you aren't going out of your way to filter biases in gameplay, then letting things happen naturally means that only the characters who you have positive biases to are likely going to have their own character arcs, basically, if you treat a character like a sidekick they are going to be a sidekick, that's as easy as i can say it. 

and maybe trying something new could get you to push those new horizons you are assuming that "exotic characters" can't portray. 

In a Galaxy Far Far Away...

I couldn't care less about the cultural hang ups of the people from dominant or non-dominant power groups on Earth when it comes to Star Wars. This is quite the reach here trying to tie in Earth problems to the imaginative place that we go to for fun. I guess you've allowed me to see an even greater reason to like Star Wars, because it doesn't deal with any of these unpleasant cultural grievances and causes. I don't identify with an ethnicity for the reason I stated, that I was raised that way, if you don't like that, I don't know what to tell you. It also doesn't prevent me from recognizing that other people may identify with a culture as their primary source of identity behind self or family. I can't help my place of birth or my life experience, and I work intimately with diverse families every day, but I help everyone the same. I love people, I do. I see their problems and deficits, and I never forget that canine teeth are for tearing meat, but I love people. I refuse to use my Star Wars time for the purpose of trying to square the circle of inequality and real human aggression or counter-aggression in whatever form. 

Good luck zeroing out your biases and those of your players. If they don't want my take on things they can go play a computer game, or find someone who has the exact same thinking that they do to be their GM. Nobody is perfect on that score, and the unintended consequences of trying to sanitize the environment in game would likely be paralyzing and result in a moribund game as far as adventure and variability are concerned. 

In my Role-Playing experience people do not play aliens with the same degree of engagement as they do when they play humans, particularly humans of the same gender with which they identify. 

 

Edited by Archlyte

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I'm going to call "logical fallacy." Do white skinned people from Corellia behave any differently than black skinned, yellow skinned, red skinned, or mohagany skinned Corellians? If they do, how do they differ? What is the history / anthropology that makes that so? Simply put: you don't know. You see, on earth we associate people whose appearance indicates genetic diversity rather also have "ethnic" (linguistic-cultural-social-religious) diversity. You cannot assume those differences play out on that level in a galaxy far, far away. Instead, those kinds of differences, due to the limitations and nature of the genre, generally play out on a system level or species level. In fact, having Lando act like a member of a "black culture" from earth, be it african america, black cuban, zulu tribesman, or any other would make absolutely zero sense. Yes, SW has a "whitebread American" baseline. It was created by whitebread Americans in a time when media did not aspire to as much diversity as they do today, but forcing earth-human ethnic stereotypes and differences onto fictional humans in a fictional universe based on their appearance and assumed earth stereotypes is nonsensical, conflicts with the source material, and isn't a satisfying solution. If you hand me an human character of a different ethnic group than my own in a SW game I will make zero effort to change how I play them, because they are *not* a member of the Earth group they just happen to look like.   

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7 hours ago, kkuja said:

I'm just reading the The Empire Strikes Back: So You Want to Be a Jedi? book. In it, the writer writes about why always in stories the main character is always (well, usually) the least colourful character. Luke is less interesting than Han or Leia in star wars. We know more about Samwais than Frodo. Harry Potter has less personal traits than Hermione or Ron. The reason is exactly what you said. More clearly the main character is defined, fewer people can relate to him. And this is not new phenomenon. Cincerella is fairly flat character, as are most heroes and heroines in fairy tales. May this have affected us as players? It's not long ago when hero of a movie was practically always (99% of time) a white male. That is often true still, but IMO there has been more exceptions in this century. Someone who has studied writing could probably speak more in-depth about this whole phenomenon.

Oddly enough I found the PTSD afflicted, dosent want to be a hero Harry alot more relateable.  Says more things about me than Harry tho, I think.

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7 hours ago, kkuja said:

I'm just reading the The Empire Strikes Back: So You Want to Be a Jedi? book. In it, the writer writes about why always in stories the main character is always (well, usually) the least colourful character. Luke is less interesting than Han or Leia in star wars. We know more about Samwais than Frodo. Harry Potter has less personal traits than Hermione or Ron. The reason is exactly what you said. More clearly the main character is defined, fewer people can relate to him. And this is not new phenomenon. Cincerella is fairly flat character, as are most heroes and heroines in fairy tales. May this have affected us as players? It's not long ago when hero of a movie was practically always (99% of time) a white male. That is often true still, but IMO there has been more exceptions in this century. Someone who has studied writing could probably speak more in-depth about this whole phenomenon.

Very, very interesting. Wow I didn't know that this was the case but it certainly makes sense to me. 

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1 hour ago, Vondy said:

Do white skinned people from Corellia behave any differently than black skinned, yellow skinned, red skinned, or mohagany skinned Corellians? 

there's mohogany people now? i must have missed the memo along with the one about purple people that you always hear people saying they aren't racist towards, but all of this is rendered moot when you consider we haven't ever been shown anything other than white corellians.

1 hour ago, Vondy said:

What is the history / anthropology that makes that so? Simply put: you don't know. 

yea thats the point we don't know, which is why i said in my original post i would have to put in just as much effort to characterize a character that is like me as a human in order to make them like me, especially in order to overcome the the "whitebread" nature of the material that you point out later. if you return to my original post i said that gm's should be encouraging their players to develop their character whether they are alien or human and this is a primary reason. 

1 hour ago, Vondy said:

I'm going to call "logical fallacy." Do white skinned people from Corellia behave any differently than black skinned, yellow skinned, red skinned, or mohagany skinned Corellians? If they do, how do they differ? What is the history / anthropology that makes that so? Simply put: you don't know. You see, on earth we associate people whose appearance indicates genetic diversity rather also have "ethnic" (linguistic-cultural-social-religious) diversity. You cannot assume those differences play out on that level in a galaxy far, far away. 

but why don't they, remember this may be occurring in a galaxy far far away, but it is being played by and written by people here on earth where these things do exist then you have to give context to your players as to why things are different rather than simply saying "its different here and i'm too lazy to explain why in order to give you a proper context." otherwise all you're going to get is reskinned white humans, which was one of the OP's major issues with playing aliens as reskinned humans. if its wrong for aliens why is it not then wrong for other humans.

1 hour ago, Vondy said:

Instead, those kinds of differences, due to the limitations and nature of the genre, generally play out on a system level or species level. In fact, having Lando act like a member of a "black culture" from earth, be it african america, black cuban, zulu tribesman, or any other would make absolutely zero sense.

what would make sense is if they played out on a cultural level, no lando would not behave like any of the cultures we have on earth, but neither would any of the other characters if we are being serious. saying simply that all humans in an expansive galaxy have the exact same culture that conveniently enough lines up exactly with white american culture is not only lazy, it borders on offensive.

1 hour ago, Vondy said:

Yes, SW has a "whitebread American" baseline. It was created by whitebread Americans in a time when media did not aspire to as much diversity as they do today, but forcing earth-human ethnic stereotypes and differences onto fictional humans in a fictional universe based on their appearance and assumed earth stereotypes is nonsensical, conflicts with the source material, and isn't a satisfying solution. 

no it is not a satisfying solution, what would be a satisfying solution would be to develop the alien and human cultures in a way so that they are not all flat characters who have one of two modes, white humans or caricatures.
The source material is not holy, and if it is bland and racist it is something that needs to be addressed, and let's not pretend that everything in star wars on a cultural level is not things we see here on earth, lucas took heavy influence from earth cultures when setting up his aesthetics for the setting, but as soon as he borrowed the aesthetics for those settings from the different cultures, he then had them all be portrayed by white people behaving like white people, and how does that make any more sense?

1 hour ago, Vondy said:

If you hand me an human character of a different ethnic group than my own in a SW game I will make zero effort to change how I play them, because they are *not* a member of the Earth group they just happen to look like.   

in which case you would be playing a reskinned white human, which is apparently the whole problem with playing aliens in the first place.

 

like let me lay it out for you, you and the O/P don't get it, and that is fine for the people you play with apparently, but i personally would never think of playing a character at your tables, i didn't bother responding to the O/P's last response to me because there was no point, they made it clear that me laying out facts was seen as an attack on their person rather than an opportunity for growth as a person and a game master, which is unfortunate, because these attitudes in gaming and nerd culture in general are very deeply entrenched and need to be confronted, but all i'm seeing is an unwillingness to do so. 

Either way, despite not understanding, you've laid out pretty clearly why some People of color, myself included, might be more inclined to play alien characters, because it is easier to make a character like ourselves as an alien while avoiding these "misunderstandings"

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19 minutes ago, Norr-Saba said:

there's mohogany people now? i must have missed the memo along with the one about purple people that you always hear people saying they aren't racist towards, but all of this is rendered moot when you consider we haven't ever been shown anything other than white corellians.

yea thats the point we don't know, which is why i said in my original post i would have to put in just as much effort to characterize a character that is like me as a human in order to make them like me, especially in order to overcome the the "whitebread" nature of the material that you point out later. if you return to my original post i said that gm's should be encouraging their players to develop their character whether they are alien or human and this is a primary reason. 

but why don't they, remember this may be occurring in a galaxy far far away, but it is being played by and written by people here on earth where these things do exist then you have to give context to your players as to why things are different rather than simply saying "its different here and i'm too lazy to explain why in order to give you a proper context." otherwise all you're going to get is reskinned white humans, which was one of the OP's major issues with playing aliens as reskinned humans. if its wrong for aliens why is it not then wrong for other humans.

what would make sense is if they played out on a cultural level, no lando would not behave like any of the cultures we have on earth, but neither would any of the other characters if we are being serious. saying simply that all humans in an expansive galaxy have the exact same culture that conveniently enough lines up exactly with white american culture is not only lazy, it borders on offensive.

no it is not a satisfying solution, what would be a satisfying solution would be to develop the alien and human cultures in a way so that they are not all flat characters who have one of two modes, white humans or caricatures.
The source material is not holy, and if it is bland and racist it is something that needs to be addressed, and let's not pretend that everything in star wars on a cultural level is not things we see here on earth, lucas took heavy influence from earth cultures when setting up his aesthetics for the setting, but as soon as he borrowed the aesthetics for those settings from the different cultures, he then had them all be portrayed by white people behaving like white people, and how does that make any more sense?

in which case you would be playing a reskinned white human, which is apparently the whole problem with playing aliens in the first place.

 

like let me lay it out for you, you and the O/P don't get it, and that is fine for the people you play with apparently, but i personally would never think of playing a character at your tables, i didn't bother responding to the O/P's last response to me because there was no point, they made it clear that me laying out facts was seen as an attack on their person rather than an opportunity for growth as a person and a game master, which is unfortunate, because these attitudes in gaming and nerd culture in general are very deeply entrenched and need to be confronted, but all i'm seeing is an unwillingness to do so. 

Either way, despite not understanding, you've laid out pretty clearly why some People of color, myself included, might be more inclined to play alien characters, because it is easier to make a character like ourselves as an alien while avoiding these "misunderstandings"

But you had to mention me here, so you did respond. No man you have an agenda that has nothing to do with playing a role-playing game. Just admit it, you feel like you need to get people empathizing with the "other." This is so not at all what this thread is about, and you are using cultural issues to essentially crap the thread. The source material is not supposed to be holy, or a blueprint for how to live your life. If you want to live with this lens on every interaction in your life then go ahead, but for me it seems like a giant waste of time. I'm way past my teenage years when it is developmentally appropriate to be chronically angry about things which have no resolution.  

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