Jump to content


Photo

NPC portrait requests


66 replies to this topic

#41 Enkida

Enkida

    Full Cyborg

  • Member
  • 338 posts

Posted 28 February 2012 - 10:37 PM

I personally find there's no point in trying to match up the cultures of the real world to anything in the FR. It's much like a bad comical parody at best, but what can you expect of a system created by a couple of white male wargaming fans in the 1970s? The franchise has valiantly attenpted to expand their horizons since the beginning, but more often than not searching for meaning - or representation - as anything other than a stereotype in the FR universe is a lost cause. Look at the red-haired goddess Sune's official descriptions and try not to cringe. Read about Raistlin and Crysania and try not to weep bitter tears about the hours of your life you lost doing it (and I think that was written by women, too!). Just watch the first DnD movie and try not to let your eyebrow twitch too much when the "token black sidekick" kicks the bucket for his American fraternity partner. Or play an unmodded BG game with Aerie's romance and think to yourself that this was made in 1999, especially when her clever robes hide PREGNANCY AND CHILDBIRTH. And top it off with a serving of Yoshimo's "HIII YAH! The tourists love that stuff"

No, you can go there if you want, but that is the path of tears and thorns and there is no right answer, because let's face it: if you want to get comparative with the real world, official FR sources generally have got it wrong anyway. And if you actually think they aren't that bad, travel more. So, I will stick with Rashemen instead of African, or Native American, or Arabic, or whatever, and just simply continue to make Minsc black.

#42 Rhaella

Rhaella

    running with the bulls

  • Modder
  • 618 posts

Posted 29 February 2012 - 12:00 AM

Hmm? No, I'm just trying to figure out what image they're trying to evoke with "dusky," since it is a bit ambiguous and a somewhat unusual adjective. At least in my experience. Okay, so maybe they're trying to evoke images of exotic India by using that word, idk. Because... if you're going for exotic, who cares that the cultures are not remotely similar! Right. Well, beyond that, I don't think Rashemen matches up well with any place in particular, which is why I like it. I mean, you do have places like Unthor and Mulhorand, whose people were specifically kidnapped from Sumer (or was it Babylon? I think Sumer) and Egypt, but even there, the culture has evolved since.

I do, however, think that FR made tons of progress as a setting in 3e -- I mean, the differences between how much depth and realism exists in the cultures as compared to in 2e is pretty enormous. Granted, part of that from my POV is due to finally blurring their (very disturbing) moral lines a bit and treating evil cultures more fairly, but things are much, much richer in general. I read through the 3e information on the Unapproachable East, for example, before looking at 2e, and... yeah, the earlier stuff was so shockingly shallow in comparison.

And then 4e happened. WTF.

I'm not sure the first DnD movie was really FR (and was a travesty but what can you really expect >_<), and Raistlin & co. is Dragonlance, which as a setting, really leaves much, much more to be desired than FR does. At least in FR, they don't exile neutral-aligned elven mages for the horrible crime of not being righteous enough.

Edited by Rhaella, 29 February 2012 - 12:07 AM.


#43 Enkida

Enkida

    Full Cyborg

  • Member
  • 338 posts

Posted 29 February 2012 - 01:51 AM

My bad on Dragonlance. I tend to blur things that are horribly horrible in the fantasy realm in an attempt to pack them in the box that I push away and forget about, heh. The second DnD movie was pretty patently terrible, too, but at least it made a half-baked attempt to pretend it didn't take place in America, starring college kids. :P

#44 Eric P.

Eric P.

    Journeyman Modder

  • Member
  • 1176 posts

Donator

Posted 29 February 2012 - 08:11 AM

If only the D&D movie budgets and resources were closer to what Peter Jackson and crew had to work with in creating the LotR films...

Totally agree about 3e FR vs. pre-3e FR :new_thumbs:

As for cultures, it's a matter of finding something to compare to. Some FR cultures have historical Earth analogs, while others don't. And yeah, "dusky" is a bit ambiguous. The same word has been used to describe the skin tone of drow half-elves, and drow definitely don't have negroid skin.

Working and playing under Windows 7 Ultimate on a Mac Pro 3,1 running Mac OS X 10.9.4 Mavericks.

~Buion na 'ell! I serve with joy! Your eyes and ears I shall be. Let us hunt together!~
- Erysseril Gwaethorien: a joinable, romanceable NPC mod for BGII - SoA/ToB, in active development.

A female elf warrior and a Bhaalspawn cross paths during their quests, joining forces to share adventure and companionship. Will they find more?


#45 MiLeah

MiLeah
  • Member
  • 65 posts

Posted 29 February 2012 - 10:22 AM

I personally find there's no point in trying to match up the cultures of the real world to anything in the FR. It's much like a bad comical parody at best, but what can you expect of a system created by a couple of white male wargaming fans in the 1970s?

Nope, that pretty much sums up my conclusion of the FR world. No need to go any further (Besides, my ranting had a lot of rude name calling in it <_<)
I admit I was never really much into FR, so I never put much thought into the lore and stuff. It's not until I started working on these portraits did I have a huge eye opener and my brain almost exploded from reading some of that stuff. It's like "Wait...Is this for real? Or are they joking?! Ohmygosh...no...they're for real with this.... :blink: "

Or play an unmodded BG game with Aerie's romance and think to yourself that this was made in 1999, especially when her clever robes hide PREGNANCY AND CHILDBIRTH. And top it off with a serving of Yoshimo's "HIII YAH! The tourists love that stuff"

I never played a male character before (But that doesn't mean I haven't encountered all the sexism on that game dealing with females), but I had read about Aerie and her robes in a romance walkthrough. Never thought about how odd that was until you just brought it up...Hmph.
...And just about 40-60% of the stuff that comes out of Yoshimo's mouth is just 'WOW! Oh no they did not just make him say that!' worthy....Mmm, I'll add this all as more fuel for my fire to continue to burn down the tradition while working on these portraits.

EDIT: I just read about Sune and had no choice but to just start laughing out loud at its sheer stupidity of her description. Sometimes things are so ignorant/racist/sexist, you just have to sit back and laugh at it because trying to taking it serious or offensive just can't be done.

Edited by MiLeah, 29 February 2012 - 11:01 AM.


#46 Rhaella

Rhaella

    running with the bulls

  • Modder
  • 618 posts

Posted 29 February 2012 - 10:55 AM

I want to hear your rant now, MiLeah. >_>

I've only played a male character once for Viconia... planning on doing it again for Ninde some time soon, but... I honestly don't know how anyone could stomach going through the Aerie romance. I like it at the end of SOA when she finally does realize she's being a selfish and self-destructive idiot, but until then... so disturbing. And TOB revolving entirely around the baby is really damn lazy.

Yeah, Yoshimo is a bit...much.

#47 Enkida

Enkida

    Full Cyborg

  • Member
  • 338 posts

Posted 29 February 2012 - 11:46 AM

Actually, Yoshimo has some really great dialogue.

It comes from "Angelo" , "Keto" , "Yoshimo Friendship" , "Yoshimo Romance" and "Romantic Encounters" :lol2:

Edited by Enkida, 29 February 2012 - 11:47 AM.


#48 MiLeah

MiLeah
  • Member
  • 65 posts

Posted 29 February 2012 - 01:34 PM

I want to hear your rant now, MiLeah. >_>

You tryin'ta get me into trouble?! :lol2:

What blows my mind the most is the folk that argue and fight to keep such primitive/sexist/racist thinking within the FR world. Which leads back to "But if it's fantasy, then why can't it change?! There is no set rule to it all!!! The sky is the limit people! It won't fall on you if you reach for it!"

I did feel guilty at first for not following the set path of the FR world when drawing the portraits. But after giving the FR world some thought, now it's like "Skip it! If they can create a fantasy world, then so can I. Breaking free of the set path won't make the world end."
[/rant]

Edited by MiLeah, 31 May 2012 - 09:45 AM.


#49 Rhaella

Rhaella

    running with the bulls

  • Modder
  • 618 posts

Posted 29 February 2012 - 02:11 PM

To be fair, Sune is a goddess of love and beauty, so I feel like they were going for Aphrodite there. Which is sort of legit. She's actually my favourite of the FR deities, as despite seeming totally flighty and superficial, her doctrine is actually about love in all of its forms rather than simply sex, and she's big on taking pleasure in the mundane and making it sublime and stuff like that. Sharess is a bit problematic thematically, but Sune is kind of awesome. I'm not actually aware of Sune specifically lusting after anyone, though you could make the case for Mystra and Elminster, because things do get a bit creepy with them.

Non-white races... Calishites, Rashemi, and (arguably) Mulan are the big ones, I suppose. I'm not sure I'd really consider it racism so much as cutting corners with world building, since some of the white races get a bit stereotyped as well -- Illuskans are pretty much your Norse barbarians, for example. At least Calishites are (IMO) interesting.

What bugs me a little bit is that they're all "men and women are equal in the Realms! Equal!" and yet the political landscape doesn't really match that. Sembia: merchant princes. Cormyr: a king. The major leaders of Waterdeep I can think of are male, and most of the powerful female characters you see hook up with an even more powerful man. (The Simbul, Elminster. Laeral, the Blackstaff. Alustriel may be an exception, but I'm not sure. The only non-drow canon relationship I can think of where the lady is more powerful is an evil aligned one -- though that's probably because I know the most about those groups). The Witches of Rashemen are a really nice exception there -- honestly, that part of the world in general. And I do love that there are some really scary awesome women at the very top of the leadership of Thay.

#50 Eric P.

Eric P.

    Journeyman Modder

  • Member
  • 1176 posts

Donator

Posted 29 February 2012 - 07:42 PM

Sune, Hanali Celanil, and Aphrodite hang out together among the Outer Planes some, since they identify with each other.

Working and playing under Windows 7 Ultimate on a Mac Pro 3,1 running Mac OS X 10.9.4 Mavericks.

~Buion na 'ell! I serve with joy! Your eyes and ears I shall be. Let us hunt together!~
- Erysseril Gwaethorien: a joinable, romanceable NPC mod for BGII - SoA/ToB, in active development.

A female elf warrior and a Bhaalspawn cross paths during their quests, joining forces to share adventure and companionship. Will they find more?


#51 Eric P.

Eric P.

    Journeyman Modder

  • Member
  • 1176 posts

Donator

Posted 29 February 2012 - 07:43 PM

Not sure about Mystra and Elminster, but The Symbul and him...pretty much "friends with benefits."

Working and playing under Windows 7 Ultimate on a Mac Pro 3,1 running Mac OS X 10.9.4 Mavericks.

~Buion na 'ell! I serve with joy! Your eyes and ears I shall be. Let us hunt together!~
- Erysseril Gwaethorien: a joinable, romanceable NPC mod for BGII - SoA/ToB, in active development.

A female elf warrior and a Bhaalspawn cross paths during their quests, joining forces to share adventure and companionship. Will they find more?


#52 Eric P.

Eric P.

    Journeyman Modder

  • Member
  • 1176 posts

Donator

Posted 29 February 2012 - 07:53 PM

What the FR designers appear to have wanted to do is to create a world with cultures that would differ, just as there's a variety of terrain, and clearly they borrowed from some interpretation of cultures from our own world. It's probably a stretch to suggest that they intended to further biased and/or grotesque distortions of views. As for creative license, the game environment is an established setting, and the game takes place in a specific time frame within that setting. OTOH, adventurers are often unconventional, and personal preferences should be expected from most characters. So, there's something to be said, in my view, for using "traditional" Realms-specific details as a guideline, and then maybe having some fun with things as a show of a character's unique style.

Working and playing under Windows 7 Ultimate on a Mac Pro 3,1 running Mac OS X 10.9.4 Mavericks.

~Buion na 'ell! I serve with joy! Your eyes and ears I shall be. Let us hunt together!~
- Erysseril Gwaethorien: a joinable, romanceable NPC mod for BGII - SoA/ToB, in active development.

A female elf warrior and a Bhaalspawn cross paths during their quests, joining forces to share adventure and companionship. Will they find more?


#53 Dakk

Dakk
  • Member
  • 398 posts

Posted 01 March 2012 - 08:02 AM

Edited per request.

Incidentally I agree with MiLeah's statement:

What blows my mind the most is the folk that argue and fight to keep such primitive/sexist/racist thinking within the FR world. Which leads back to "But if it's fantasy, then why can't it change?!

FR and Faerûn is a product of the time (and "gender-monopoly"..) in which it was created and written - but there's no reason for it not to evolve.

Edited by Dakk, 24 June 2012 - 06:18 AM.


#54 MiLeah

MiLeah
  • Member
  • 65 posts

Posted 01 March 2012 - 09:42 AM

Well put.

Edited by MiLeah, 24 June 2012 - 07:54 AM.


#55 Enkida

Enkida

    Full Cyborg

  • Member
  • 338 posts

Posted 01 March 2012 - 10:25 AM

Well, I think if you feel offended by MiLeah's stereotyping of "the nerdy male gamer", then you can understand how she (and well, many of us) feel about the typical stereotyping of women and race in FR lore, even today. This "tunnel blindness" works both ways. I don't actually think anyone here is looking to attack anyone else personally, unless someone reading this is personally responsible for the current development of AD&D lore. And even then, I don't think anyone is interested in elevating this debate to the Hepler level, but rather giving a general shoutout here: "Couldn't you people try just a little bit harder? You have women and minority gamers now, too."

#56 berelinde

berelinde

    Troublemaker

  • Modder
  • 4916 posts

Posted 01 March 2012 - 10:55 AM

Um... yeah. Not going to touch that one.

Anyway, one of the key things to remember about these estrogen-deprived unfortunates is that they gave us permission to mod the game.

It would be great if there were a "Retroactive Enlightenment" spell, but there isn't. I have vague memories of some tabletop RPG... (Three little booklets... could it have been D&D? It was 1976)... where I had to play a male character because I didn't want to play as a magic user, the only class that allowed female characters. We've come a long way since then, but it didn't happen over night.

Game companies don't necessarily make games to educate players. They are trying to sell games. Back in 1998, or whenever it was, somebody decided that they would best appeal to their target audience by including features X, Y, and Z. They weren't worried about A, B, and C because that segment of the population wasn't buying the game anyway. Or so they thought. If you look at modern games, they are more progressive. They've gotten away from at least some of the gender and sexual orientation stereotypes, although they still have a ways to go.

So yeah, modern games are sluggishly becoming more inclusive, but BG2 is already out the door. It would have been nice if players had the option of making Aerie look Asian or making Keldorn look African, but that's what mods are for.
"Imagination is given to man to console him for what he is not; a sense of humor, for what he is." - Oscar Wilde

berelinde's mods
TolkienAcrossTheWater website
TolkienAcrossTheWater Forum

#57 MiLeah

MiLeah
  • Member
  • 65 posts

Posted 01 March 2012 - 11:57 AM

I know I shouldn't let it get to me. But I'd be lying through my teeth if I said this all didn't get under my skin. It's kinda like every time I read/see/hear things like this (which is considered to be 'the norm', so it's daily), it's like a stick of dynamite being added to the pile until I feel myself just wanting to explode.
At Least I learned a lot during this experience. I can now take what I know and do what I can with it. I think that's what it amounts to anyway.

#58 Eric P.

Eric P.

    Journeyman Modder

  • Member
  • 1176 posts

Donator

Posted 01 March 2012 - 09:42 PM

I'm curious about what specific things are seen as biased in the setting.

Working and playing under Windows 7 Ultimate on a Mac Pro 3,1 running Mac OS X 10.9.4 Mavericks.

~Buion na 'ell! I serve with joy! Your eyes and ears I shall be. Let us hunt together!~
- Erysseril Gwaethorien: a joinable, romanceable NPC mod for BGII - SoA/ToB, in active development.

A female elf warrior and a Bhaalspawn cross paths during their quests, joining forces to share adventure and companionship. Will they find more?


#59 Rhaella

Rhaella

    running with the bulls

  • Modder
  • 618 posts

Posted 02 March 2012 - 12:01 AM

Bleh, the internet ate my reply and I don't feel like rewriting it. One thing I wanted to say in defense of the writers, though: their work was always at the mercy of producers, editors, etc. So they may not be entirely to blame. In some cases, they may not be at all to blame. I do know a situation in a 3e book where the original writer made a Thayvian enclave closer to neutral than evil, and the editors walked in and cut out a lot of the non-evil stuff that was going on. (tbf, even with that, it was a hell of a lot more balanced and nuanced than a 2e Red Wizard enclave would have been -- not that there even were enclaves till 3e.)

It is kind of interesting that WOTC bought the franchise before 3e was released, so there may have been more to the sudden jump in quality than simply the times changing.

Also, I'm not sure to what degree Mediterranean colouring would qualify as non-white (if you live in Italy/Greece/Spain, no, if you live in Latin America, yes, and if you live in Faerun, wait what?), but Halruaans are explicitly so. A mixed heritage human race. And they're quite possibly the most powerful, most advanced nation in Faerun.

So yeah, modern games are sluggishly becoming more inclusive, but BG2 is already out the door. It would have been nice if players had the option of making Aerie look Asian or making Keldorn look African, but that's what mods are for.


It may just be my anthropologist leanings, but I'd probably be even more irritated if the developers did something like this. As much as I hate it that Minsc and Edwin are whitewashed and don't really look their ethnicity (and everyone local should probably be a little bit darker because of the Calishite blood), I'd be even more annoyed if Aerie were suddenly Asian. She doesn't really look like an Avariel as it is, but laziness and ignorance I can sort of tolerate. If you take that and then add what amounts to deliberate disregard for the cultures your characters come from, it just breaks immersion and authenticity for me entirely. And there's not enough authenticity to go around as it is.

Obviously, no problem with modders/players doing as they like.

Edited by Rhaella, 02 March 2012 - 12:41 AM.


#60 Enkida

Enkida

    Full Cyborg

  • Member
  • 338 posts

Posted 02 March 2012 - 02:51 AM

Not to be a killjoy, because I do find this discussion really interesting, but let's open a new thread if we want to go in more depth, eh? This is supposed to be a thread for portrait requesting only ;-)

like here: http://www.shsforums...d-stereotyping/

Edited by Enkida, 02 March 2012 - 06:14 AM.




Reply to this topic