Including All and Sundry

Monday Meeting

Flowers-of-Hell-Cover

Above, you’ll see the cover to the Flowers of Hell: The Demons Players Guide by one of my favorite nWoD artists, Cathy Wilkins. The fact that when we first started working together it was a lot rarer for women to be illustrators in RPGs than now, leads me to this week’s blog. I mentioned last week that there was a bit of a to-do about a paragraph in the new D&D 5th Edition rules essentially stating outright that all genders and sexual preferences can play the game and the types of characters they want to play. Which (inevitably) resulted in some outrage that such a paragraph is pandering to “fringe” concerns, and some that D&D is no place for any mention of sex, and some folks are angry that Hasbro didn’t phrase the paragraph as strongly or correctly as they could have.

Well, my guess is there’s a huge percentage of people who aren’t going to give that paragraph a second thought. I suppose that’s human nature and interaction in the internet age, but the fact is that the paragraph isn’t there for those people. It’s for those gamers who never felt welcome or represented by D&D before. It’s an open door and an explicit message that there’s room at the table for everyone. And that is an excellent message for all of us who love and enjoy tabletop RPGs.

I made the mention last week, because I was going to talk about how important I think a philosophy of inclusion is to our hobby of misfits. Although I will say that my personal preference is to demonstrate this philosophy in the depiction of the worlds and characters Onyx Path publishes, rather than an overt editorial block of text. I like the idea that gamers see and read about characters they can relate to and identify with in the books. But then, we have White Wolf‘s history of inclusion (with a few missteps) to lead into our own efforts, so I’m not faulting the approach in D&D 5.

At White Wolf back in the day, the idea to include races, genders, etc outside of our mostly white, mostly male, mostly straight, mostly middle-class demographic of creators wasn’t a tenet imposed from on-high, it was a by-product of our gang writing about what concerned them and they saw every day in their lives. Onyx is set up to allow our creative teams the same ability to write about the issues that concern them in our real world within the game worlds. My hope is that by actually working with a diverse group of creators, a variety of world-views will work their way into the games, and that you, whomever you are, will find something to recognize and enjoy within the pages.

Similarly, my intention is that the forums and blogs here on our Onyx Path site, as well as the comments sections on our FB pages, can be places where our entire community feels that they can talk without being attacked. Hence, a very large part of the moderation done by Rose, Ian, and the Mods, is designed to keep conversations civil. That can sometimes be a tough line to walk, particularly because our games mean a lot to a lot of people and generate very strong feelings.

Sometimes those feelings are based on politics, or community inclusiveness, or, because we are talking about gaming here, feelings about the games themselves.  We know that and we’ve done a lot of work to try and bring together our fan community; whether through bringing back the classic WoD settings so that fans of either cWoD or nWoD can enjoy their favorites, or by creating new editions with an eye towards healing the rifts of the Edition Wars.

We’re going to make some missteps, too. No doubt about it. Creativity requires pushing the boundaries. Some of you may feel we have gone to far, some that we haven’t gone far enough. Particularly because both versions of the World of Darkness are about horror and specifically about exploring personal fear, we may offend or touch on subjects and themes that hit some triggers. This may happen. Yet, I’ve lost track of the number of folks in our community that have spoken to me about how our games have enabled them to go to those dark places inside, and to face them.

From that level of seriousness, we move to the opposite. Eddy and I talked pretty much half of the time about the above. An Eddy quote: “Issues aren’t interesting to play, people are.” And the other half was about Gen Con and a special announcement at one of our panels that I’ll be teasing more next week in our All Gen Con Prep Edition of this blog.

(Some Pun About Including) These Projects:

– Book of the Deceived (MtC): In Editing. Full page art is coming in.

– Sothis Ascends (MtC): Some text was re-distributed and needs further writing, otherwise in redlines.

– Cursed Necropolis: Rio (MtC): First drafts heading into redlines.

 Exalted 3rd Edition:  From Holden: “Playtest-based overhauls to defensive Charms are finished. Evocation cascades are finished, basic use-rules and setting material at front of section being finished. Antagonists being reviewed. Sorcery has received final review and is off to editing. We are currently neck-deep in art notes.” Art notes = the descriptions of what needs to be illustrated created by the devs as guidance and inspiration for the artists.

Both EX3 novels are being worked on, and notes went back on Matt Forbeck’s synopsis. The EX3 Music Suites are at a standstill right now until our composer gets through his full time job commitments. Intending to talk to all of these creators at Gen Con.

– V20 Anarchs Unbound: It is live on DTRPG in PDF, ePub, PoD and PDF/PoD combos. http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/127247/Anarchs-Unbound New printer quote requests based on conversations with them and Mirthful Mike for Deluxe version were sent in.

– V20 Rites of the Blood: Advance PDF on sale at DTRPG. (Advance PDF designates a full PDF release, but one where we will take purchasers’ comments and fixes and tweak the files before the PDF and PoD are on sale together. Advance PDF purchasers get a discount link for purchasing the PoD version based on the cost of the PDF/PoD combo price.) We are assembling eratta based on your input on this thread: http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/main-category/main-forum/the-classic-world-of-darkness/vampire-the-masquerade/192908-errata-rites-of-the-blood

– V20 Dark Ages: In post-writing Development. David Hill has delivered some art notes. Full page art notes out to artist, artist for Clan Spreads working on them. Many blog posts here on his progress: http://theonyxpath.com/category/projects/darkages/

– V20: Ghouls: In post writing development.

– V20 Red List: In final draft stage.

– The Making of the Art of Children of the Revolution: Creating PoD files to go with PDF for sale on DTRPG.

– V20 Lore of the Clans: Was Blood Diaries. Writing. Open Development starting up with this blog: http://theonyxpath.com/lore-of-the-clans-open-development-coming-soon/

 Deluxe Werewolf 20th Anniversary Edition: Sending a final list to the European shipper of those backers still without their rewards. Mike Lee has delivered several new chapters this week of the W20 “Houses of the Moon” novel for Bill to review. The White Howlers Tribe Book has art coming in, and the comic art from John Bridges is in progress.

– W20 Changing Breeds: Deluxes and Screens are shipping.

– W20 Book of the Wyrm- A Pentex Board Member nominee list was sent to backers, and we’ll be getting the Surveys with ballots out to backers this week. Work has begun on the new content for the book besides the Board Members, and then we’ll need to begin on the Pentex Employee Indoctrination Manual Stretch Goal project.

– W20: The Umbra: In post writing development.

– Mage the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition-  Satyr Phil has handed all the text off to Bill. Bill is continuing his “second set of eyes” developer’s pass. The Character Pack book and the “How Do You DO That?” book would be next on our agenda. The M20 Quick Start PDF/PoD is now on sale (the PDF is free) here: http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/131409/Mage-20th-Anniversary-Edition-Quickstart

– Trinity Continuum: System Doc being assembled by Joltin’ Joe Carriker. He says system development is really hard and apologizes for the delay. The first new piece of art in YEARS has been commissioned. We’re doing some Gen Con things with that. Jumpin’ John Snead had to replace a writer for the Aeon core book, but says things are still coming together nicely.

 Scion: Sketch for Scion: Origins came in and WOW! Expect to see it and the new character’s art at Gen Con.

– Demon: the Descent Prestige Edition: waiting for sample finished Prestige edition from printer. Then talking with shipper.

– Demon: The Descent: Demon Seed Collection is in editing and art notes. DtD Seattle is in layout and being art directed. Heirs to Hell backers’ PDF went out to KS backers last week- we’ll be assembling the errata and getting the PDF and PoD versions ready to go on sale. Demon Translation Guide is being written. The Demon Fiction Anthology + Interfaces is in post-writing development.

– DtD Players Guide: Flowers Of Hell: PDF is available now: http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/131419/Flowers-of-Hell-The-Demon-Players-Guide. We’ll be assembling the errata this week to prepare the PDF and PoD on sale versions.

– nWoD: Dark Eras: The VtR section is benefiting from a focused dev pass, while the rest of the Eras are in editing.

– WtF: The Idigam Chronicle: In 2nd drafts. Stew Wilson is doing a remarkably regular Friday blog that focuses on specific topics for the book- lots of good discussion happening right now: http://theonyxpath.com/category/projects/werewolftheforsaken/

– nMtA: The Fallen World Chronicle: Dave Brookshaw has started his blog about the next of the updated game lines. http://theonyxpath.com/category/projects/magetheawakening/

– GtSE: Geist Ready Made Characters: In redlines.

– T-Shirts: W20 Tribe Symbol shirts are up, and V20 Clan Symbol shirts are coming really soon!

Reason to Drink: GenCon forms.

  72 comments for “Including All and Sundry

  1. IanW
    July 15, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    To update a little: That “first new piece of art” for the Trinity Continuum is done and it looks FABULOUS. It’s a big deal because, as many of you know, I’ve been writing about or “developing” for various Trinity fan projects for a decade. Now all of a sudden there’s ART. All of a sudden this project has become so much more real than it was before.

    We’ll be showing it off at Gen Con. I’m really looking forward to the reception.

    • CHILL
      July 15, 2014 at 10:55 pm

      Woot! Congrats on seeing this milestone, Ian 😀

  2. atamajakki
    July 15, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    No word on the Demon Storyteller’s Guide?

    • richt
      July 15, 2014 at 11:36 pm

      Not on my status update yet. It’s coming though- no worries.

    • Olympius
      July 16, 2014 at 12:19 am

      Rose mentioned last week that the Storytellers Guide was still in the outline stage, so I doubt any writing’s been done for it beyond that.

  3. Unsilent Majority
    July 15, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    Rich,

    The way I see it, there are always going to be people who bitch and complain for even the most ridiculous of reasons. Those people are generally the loudest, while the ones who are content with everything stay quiet. You know that.

    Keep on kicking ass!

    V20:RotB is fantastic, by the way.

    • July 15, 2014 at 9:56 pm

      Glad you liked Rites of the Blood. 🙂

    • richt
      July 15, 2014 at 11:35 pm

      Yes, I often remind our Onyx Path crew as to the vast majority of glowing and positive Kickstarter Survey responses when they are down about a bit of negativity.

  4. Tiresias
    July 15, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    There are countries where people aren’t free to determine their own gender and sexuality. That’s what makes it so important for people to be able to do it in a game.

    I’ve come to appreciate how important it is for tabletop games to give players the power to play the characters they want. I work in surveillance studies and I could spend hours talking about how people lose control over their lives or even give it away. I think tabletop RPGs are a way to let players realize how much power they could have if they chose to exercise it. When the game takes control away from the players by forcing their characters to feed on humans or punishes players for their choices by hitting their characters with paradox, it should be a frustrating experience. It should be a reminder that the World of Darkness is fundamentally unfair. Vampires shouldn’t be punished for existing and Mages shouldn’t be punished for their enlightenment, but they are. So what are you going to do to get back in control of your character?

    Now that the philosophy’s out of the way, I’m extremely excited about the progress on Exalted and the Fallen World Chronicle and I’m looking forward to Scion.

    • richt
      July 15, 2014 at 11:31 pm

      Absolutely. And a little game theory in there too- thanks!

  5. Neall
    July 15, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    I say without exaggeration that the White Wolf tradition of inclusiveness and Onyx Path’s unrelenting drive to be more and more progressive in the work has made me a better writer and a better person. Never before was I directly challenged in my approach to these issues and the ramifications of including or not including them as part of the experience in our games. Never before was I challenged in my reluctance to include issues outside my milieu in order to not insult anyone, but instead encouraged to do the research and make the effort to be inclusive. I firmly believe that my work, my soul, and our games are better for it.

    I’m extremely proud to see Scion – a game that includes cultural and religious beliefs from a huge variety of world cultures as part of the core game experience – and Trinity – games that embrace the optimism and unity of humanity – as two major upcoming lines. The banner of inclusiveness is one I’m proud we’re lifting high.

    • richt
      July 15, 2014 at 11:30 pm

      Actually a result I hadn’t considered- thanks, Neall!

  6. Renee
    July 15, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    I think the natural inclination toward inclusiveness from the get-go was what appealed to me the most about White Wolf products. I played V:tM first, and then DnD… and then promptly ran screaming for the hills back to V:tM because it felt more welcoming, even with the darker themes of personal horror and highly diminished focus on heroism.

    Now, I’m part of projects that are pushing that inclusiveness even further, and it makes me smile. It makes me think more deeply about who needs more representation and how best to expand that representation not just in signature characters for game lines, but even in pronoun use in game text. We’re doing pretty damn well, and we can identify where we can improve further on that front. 😀

    • richt
      July 15, 2014 at 11:28 pm

      Very glad to hear it, and thrilled to have you involved. Thanks!

  7. Quinn Y
    July 15, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    I hope there’s a section in Mage20 about how each Tradition manages to fit their paradigms into the modern world which is basically the Technocratic Paradigm writ large. In a way all the Traditions’ paradigms have had to change from their original intents in order to still function in a modern world

    • richt
      July 15, 2014 at 11:28 pm

      Pretty sure there is something similar in there, but we’re still reviewing everything that is going in M20.

  8. Philip F
    July 15, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    What a drag, I was hoping the Demon books would be out by now.

    • richt
      July 15, 2014 at 11:26 pm

      Soon. Talking to a shipper this week, and the printer is ready to ship them to whatever shipping I OK. First I need to confirm that it looks like we wanted.

  9. Derek
    July 15, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    As a regular gamer and con-attender in the late 80s and early 90s, I certainly noticed the increase in diversity that came with the emergence of White Wolf games. I especially noticed the sudden increase in women at cons. (But then, I was a het teenage boy, so you know, that’s what drew my attention.) This was the start of great things for our hobby.

    • richt
      July 15, 2014 at 11:25 pm

      It wasn’t something I personally noticed until much later, but I had a weekly gaming group that had two to four women every week in it over the years, so women playing RPGs was the expected thing.

    • Torakhan
      July 16, 2014 at 12:11 am

      You’ll also notice that there are a lot of families now at the cons as well. In fact, Gen Con not only has events for “gamer widows”, but childcare as well. Events like the Indianapolis Childrens Museum gamer-friendly exhibits, geek-based symphonies, theaters, and music venues have not only given non-tabletop-gamers something to do, but have also broadened the scene as well.
      The con has also evolved over time, from tabletop-rpg publishers, to CCGs, and multi-media, along with catering to the “gamer lifestyle” (Anime, custom gaming tables, shirt-vendors, etc..), things that seemed to be far less common (in percentage) even when I started attending in 1996.

      While I’m sure White Wolf had quite a hand in opening up the “gaming scene” to women, transgenders, gays, therians, goths, outcasts, fringers, etc., I also think that gaming was breaking away from the 1980s as video games and the children of the 60s/70s crowd were coming into their own and were more accepting of the same concepts. It was also about this time that medieval/Renaissance festivals began to be more popular.
      I think it all worked together, feeding off from one another, into the geek culture/industry we enjoy today… one where a group of 10 people in their fantasy LARP gear can walk into a restaurant and get more compliments and interest than sneers and fear from nearby mundanes (we often run across this during our LARPs!)

  10. Simon
    July 15, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    How’s the Making of the Art of W20 coming along? I could’ve sworn I saw something in the comments a while ago but now I can’t find it…

    • richt
      July 15, 2014 at 11:23 pm

      Working on it- we need to get past Gen Con though.

  11. Caoimhe
    July 15, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    Rich, I do agree with your main point, but at the start you write, “…and some folks are angry that Hasbro didn’t phrase the paragraph as strongly or correctly as they could have.”

    I honestly haven’t seen anyone who is angry with Hasbro. Disappointed, perhaps, but I have yet to find anyone who hasn’t stated they’re pleased with the effort despite the problems with the implementation.

    • richt
      July 15, 2014 at 11:41 pm

      Oh boy, I have. The use of hermaphrodite, for example, is an issue because it is a loaded word with some negative baggage as commented on by some posters. Not my issue, so I don’t want to inaccurately paraphrase their concerns, but there was some real anger and frustration there.

  12. Dustin
    July 16, 2014 at 12:14 am

    This blog post is a good exmple of why I think you guys and girls rock! Keep being awesome!

    • richt
      July 16, 2014 at 10:04 am

      Thanks and you keep being awesome, too!

  13. Andy
    July 16, 2014 at 1:45 am

    I’m a little disappointed that you guys glossed over your past problems with inclusion. For example, the notorious book WoD: Gypsy, or how many people felt that Kindred of the East and the other Asian themed products were insulting.

    • richt
      July 16, 2014 at 10:04 am

      I didn’t gloss over anything- this post wasn’t about enumerating past White Wolf issues but about what Onyx Path is doing now and in the future. I acknowledged that despite an intention towards fair depiction and inclusion, WW did make mistakes, but the overall effect was to create a more welcoming and open environment for gamers.

  14. JezMiller
    July 16, 2014 at 2:05 am

    On Mage 20th, you’ve also got the new and improved Penny Dreadful out to backers – worth mentioning in your progress list

    • richt
      July 16, 2014 at 10:01 am

      Did we? I don’t think we sent that out yet…

      • JezMiller
        July 16, 2014 at 3:24 pm

        *Someone* certainly did. I got the email from DriveThruRPG two days ago. The mobi’s already on my Kindle – although curiously, it comes up on the contents page as “Untitled” rather than “Penny Dreadful”. I can forward you the mail if you’d like to follow it up with DriveThru?

        • richt
          July 16, 2014 at 6:19 pm

          If you had the original, very basic version, from them, then I bet you got an automatic upgrade when we put up the new file. You will also get a link sometime soon if you were a Deluxe M20 backer.

          • JezMiller
            July 17, 2014 at 3:48 am

            Yes, it was a “the file has been updated” email. And yes, I was a deluxe backer, which is why I automatically assumed that I got the mail because of that. Mystery solved!

  15. Stupid Loserman
    July 16, 2014 at 3:36 am

    I’m happy to say that, whatever corners of entrenched opinions there are (and there are a good amount), the tabletop hobby as a whole really seems to have been drifting in this direction, and it’s one of a few factors that have opened my eyes to some things I’ve never considered before. Most of the current generation of Onyx Path writers have been doing a bang-up job with this, and I’ll add on to the praise.

    You mention dealing with some negativity from the Kickstarter surveys, and I’d like to state that I have a lot of sympathy for you guys in trying to wrangle all these shipping projects at once, plug holes and fix mistakes where they’re made, and get people what they ordered. I know a lot of people have gotten pretty impatient about it (though I understand the impulse, it’s easy to fail to see all the stuff in the background going on). I’m very happy with how the outcome for the Demon Kickstarter I kicked in for has gone, and look forward to when the books are ready to go out and ship.

    • richt
      July 16, 2014 at 9:58 am

      Glad to hear it- and thanks. We try to be transparent and make clear all the freaky stuff that happens in our KSs so that backers can see what’s happening too. I think this helps some folks and just pisses off others who don’t want that amount of info, and might even see it as excuses.

  16. Cardul
    July 16, 2014 at 5:09 am

    See, I noticed the line in the D&D Basic rules, and was floored. I never thought D&D would ever acknowledge anything other then the masculine pronoun(because, you know, masculine pronouns are actually gender neutral!), let alone acknowledge the players might want to play things other then the ‘standard.’ I will play cross-gender characters, and, even though I am a straight white male, i will play characters of any persuasion that I feel tells a good story. Because that is what RP is about: telling a story and being different from yourself. I am very glad D&D has finally realized this, and I hope the Falwellite, Phelpsian, and Robertsonian fallout does not make them decide to change that. (Those three groups would not be happy with anything done with D&D, after all.)

    • Furf
      July 16, 2014 at 9:20 am

      Open the 3rd edition player’s handbook. Half the classes are written with the assumption that the character is female. She gets this, she can do that.

      Take a look at 4th edition. Everything is addressed directly at you in a gender neutral way. You get this power, you can accomplish that thing.

      It’s nothing new and making a big deal out of it is dumb.

      • richt
        July 16, 2014 at 9:55 am

        I don’t think that D&D ever only featured white guys in its entire lifetime, and you make a good point with specific examples of how it did indeed evolve over the years- making this text the next step, really.

    • richt
      July 16, 2014 at 9:56 am

      I doubt those groups are even aware of it.

      • tau neutrino
        July 17, 2014 at 5:23 am

        Falwell’s dead.

  17. Aleksandr
    July 16, 2014 at 5:22 am

    The fact that you guys are so inclusive is what makes me love you guys so much.

    • richt
      July 16, 2014 at 9:52 am

      Glad to hear it. Again, it’s not like we’re trying to be the Inclusive Company, so much as these are the stories and games our teams are creating.

  18. Jim
    July 16, 2014 at 8:14 am

    Would love to see “Clan books” for the V:tm bloodlines…clanbook samedi, clanbook Nagarahja(?), clanbook Daughters of Cacophony….

    In the mean time keep up the epic work.

    • richt
      July 16, 2014 at 9:50 am

      You never know- and thanks!

  19. Dawngreeter
    July 16, 2014 at 8:23 am

    I recall a relatively recent statement from the Borderlands 2 writer honcho dude guy, as a response to some comments how certain characters seemed to be queer for no real reason. He basically said that even if it is for absolutely no reason at all, inclusiveness is a good thing. And, seriously, why do you need some grand scale cosmic justification for having a, say, transgender character? No one is going around bemoaning straight white male characters that have no justification for being straight, white and/or male.

    In any case, I tend to take that Ghost World quote to heart. The one about creeps, losers and weirdos being our people. We’re geeks. We obsess about strange, strange things. If you have a strong opinion on, say, dice probability curves, or which Doctor is the best, or about Han shooting first, you’re already way, way stranger than anyone who has a non-standard sexual preference or gender identity. And that’s a good thing.

    • richt
      July 16, 2014 at 9:49 am

      Agreed on both counts.

  20. Jeff
    July 16, 2014 at 11:31 am

    While I am for inclusiveness I think it can and has gone too far.

    If I thought I was an elf and got surgery to alter my body and then claimed I was no longer subject to human laws, what would happen.

    If I got cosmetic surgery to change my appearance to look like Bill Gates, I would not have any rights to his money.

    But if I have XY chromosomes and mutilate my body, I am suddenly and legally female. What happened to the Y chromosome?

    In the first two cases, I would be treated as if I had a mental condition, not a physical condition. The solution would be to try to get me to realize that I was not an elf or Bill Gates. But in the last case the law says I no longer have a Y chromosome which seems strange to me.

    But that is an opinion that is past its due date since it is accepted fact that someone with an XY chromosome who thinks they are female is accepted as a fact and not a mental issue.

    I wonder if my opinion is part of the inclusiveness warm and fuzzy fest that is currently being discussed.

    • IanW
      July 16, 2014 at 3:04 pm

      You’re making two mistakes: assuming that gender and sex are the same (they aren’t) and that it’s a binary system (it isn’t).

      Sex is your physical characteristics. Even there it’s not always clean-cut: how do you classify someone with XXX, XYY, XXYY, XXXX, XXXXX, XXXXY, Klinefelter, Non-Klinefelter XXY, or Androgen insensitivity syndromes?

      Gender is more mental. Professional medical associations around the world, such as the WHO and American Psychiatric Association, recognize that gender and sex are different things, and have for decades.

      Gender dysphoria” is a recognized condition in the current DSM standards, describing someone whose gender does not match their sex. A commonly prescribed treatment is sexual reassignment surgery (which is not “mutilation” by any definition), because it’s far easier to give someone something approaching a body they’re comfortable inhabiting than it is to change the structure of their brains (and yes, there is a difference in brain structure).

      You’re perfectly welcome not to feel comfortable with the idea, but I’m going to side with the medical professionals, the science, and the simple desire to make people feel comfortable with who they are.

    • richt
      July 16, 2014 at 6:17 pm

      Of course it is. On a personal level, I have no ability to truly understand what transgender folks have gone through in their lives. I have tried, and while I can sympathize, I’m never going to “get it” because their struggle isn’t mine. The root cause isn’t what’s important to me, it’s the people and whether they’re cool or assholes. Just like pretty much everybody else.

    • Dawngreeter
      July 16, 2014 at 6:19 pm

      “If I thought I was an elf and got surgery to alter my body and then claimed I was no longer subject to human laws, what would happen.”

      That’s a very, very strange turn of events. Why would you think being an elf should mean you are not subject to human laws? What exactly from the ongoing discussion does this parallel? The fact that people born as, say, women who later decide their identity better aligns with the male gender are no longer subject to… hm. Woman laws? I mean, sure, if you were a Saudi who thought your women were just a sex change surgery away from being allowed to vote, drive cars and socialize in public, then sure, I could see your point. Of course, I’d then also find you unfit for this discussion because we’re kind of going on assumption that basic human rights are a given.

      Also, I’d imagine the elf thing is your way of making an absurd claim. But, really, if becoming an elf ever becomes a thing, I honestly can’t think of a reason why anyone would have a problem with that. People have a right to choose what identity suits them. More importantly, it’s very rude imposing your own sense of what qualifies as identity upon other people who are merely trying to figure themselves out.

      It’s a very flimsy straw man you’re building there.

    • MagusRogue
      July 16, 2014 at 7:20 pm

      umm… as the husband of a female-to-male transgendered person, a) it is certainly not a mutilation at all, but instead an attempt to just right your body to what it should be. as Ian pointed out, transgender very, if not always, actually is a medical condition. Your body mutated in some unexpected way and it came out… well, i don’t want to say wrong, because of the negative connotations, but it does not fit what you should truly be. If it was just a mental case, then my husband’s mri’s would not be showing a male’s brain anatomy stuffed in a body that is female. Truth.

      And, basically, what Ian and Richt said. 🙂

  21. Jay
    July 16, 2014 at 11:34 am

    The gender and sexual orientation issue is one that until relatively recently our local group had never considered. We have regular female and gay players and characters who are all sorts of genders, faiths, orientations, cultural backgrounds etc. It’s good to see more game lines being inclusive – it makes sense on so many fronts; respect for everyone, more people to play with, more stories to tell and more people into the hobby meaning more sales which is never a bad thing.

    For my own writing and games etc the easiest thing thus far has been ensuring the inclusiveness in regards players and characters.

    No company or game should need a statement of inclusiveness, but whilst it’s still a growth/development area where more education is needed such statements can’t hurt at all. Moaners can moan. Come one, come all.

    • richt
      July 16, 2014 at 6:01 pm

      Well, I think that is one of the aspects- more people to game with- that just has to be part of our thinking today. My question is: are you fun to game with?

  22. Quinn Y
    July 16, 2014 at 11:36 am

    There’s a huge subterranean hole that has opened up in Siberia. This is for real – this isn’t a joke. You can see the report here http://www.9news.com.au/world/2014/07/16/04/48/giant-hole-appears-at-world-end

    This would be awesome to include in a MAGE20 supplement. I know I’m going to include it in a chronicle of mine.

  23. Tadanori Oyama
    July 16, 2014 at 11:44 am

    So much cool stuff has come out since last year. I remember coming to the GenCon booth specifically to read the preview material for Demon and Blood & Smoke; now I have both of those in hand. Make me optimistic for continued quality.

    Looking forward to the panels, the booth, and a chance to say “hello and thank you” to Mr. Thomas and the other hardworking individuals present at GenCon.

    • richt
      July 16, 2014 at 5:59 pm

      Make sure you do- I’ll be looking forward to saying hi face to face.

  24. Phaolan
    July 16, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    First off, know that I didn’t read any of the above comments, so I dunno if any of the below has been mentioned. Frankly, I don’t care ‘coz I’m gonna write it regardless.

    If you look at the Classic World of Darkness Vampire: the Masquerade forum, you may see that someone (spoiler alert: It was yours truly) has posted pages and pages of corrections for the latest book in the V20 set, Rites of the Blood. Most of those corrections concern pronouns that do not fit with the Onyx Path Style Guide; that is, the guide states that the neuter, third person plural ‘they’ and such ought to be replaced by singular pronouns. If further states that ‘she’ and ‘he’ ought not be used with any particular preference, going so far as to encourage mix-and-match… Just so long as the bloke who has the magic continues to use it on the bird who has the gun. Please don’t force them to change genders in the middle of a paragraph.

    This has been a feature of books all through White Wolf/Onyx Path’s history, and I absolutely appreciate it. Pronoun choice remains a small thing, no doubt. However, small things can produce big changes, and the women gamers at my table all feel included in our World of Darkness games. I can’t say that the pronouns made the difference, but it helps.

    …Yeah, I sort of wish that disclaimers of inclusion weren’t necessary in any book, but it reflects the world we live in, for good or ill. That Onyx Path continues to lead by example more than anything else, allowing us to explore notions of identity and reality in games that never exclude, it means a lot to me and to all of us in my troupe. Thank you for continuing that trend.

    • richt
      July 16, 2014 at 5:58 pm

      I imagine Eddy might have some response to why the pronouns function as they do in Rites of the Blood. For me, I agree that sometimes its the little things that add up to allow folks to feel included, and sometimes a more overt statement like we mentioned above are needed.

      • Phaolan
        July 17, 2014 at 3:51 pm

        Exactly so, and it’s never ‘ONE THING’ that allows for inclusion or exclusion. We strive to include all and sundry, but it’s ultimately the decision of the person outside to make as to whether he/she/they (as the case may be) wishes to join in. Sure, some statements work to exclude more than others, but the one who receives the offer is the only one who decide how to feel about joining in with what’s offered… If that makes sense?

        Needless to say, you do well on all counts.

  25. Quinn Y
    July 16, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    MAGE20: I would like to see PARADIGMA return from the dead. The Society of Ether really should have it’s own Awakened Journal of Dynamic Science (capital S). I thought it’s elimination during Mage Revised was a lazy and outrageous move by the line developer at the time.

    Also, The Gernsback Continuum was such an awesome idea that it really needs to be a part of the Society of Ether.

    • marin
      July 16, 2014 at 4:16 pm

      …Why on Earth is that even an issue? It was their iconic journal, but it’s not like the Etherites were exactly lacking for various discussion forums afterwards.

      Wait. Did anything outside the SoE Tradbooks even use Paradigma? If not… again, why does it matter?

      And assuming it does matter, why blame the developer rather than the writers?

      • Quinn Y
        July 16, 2014 at 5:14 pm

        It’s an issue because it’s details like “Paradigma” for Sons of Ether and “Technotica” for Iteration X that add so much to the experience of playing them. If you’re just going to play a game with only the stripped down rules where you’re going “I’m using Matter 4 + Correspondence 2 + Entropy 1” it gets very boring very quickly.

        I think that “Forged by Dragons Fire” determined that Paradigma was a form of “Principia”/”Grimoire”. So in game terms, that’s why that mattered.

        Also, different aspects of the Roleplaying Game matter to different players. Paradigma was a fucking cool concept that added a smart idea to the concept of the Sons of Ether. Taking it away dumbed down the game – you know, just like the Avatar Storm brought down the whole line.

        • richt
          July 16, 2014 at 5:55 pm

          Awesome that you loved that part of the setting, and as someone with a soft spot for the SoE, I too enjoyed it and thought it was a “characterful” bit. But please can we try not to start the very Edition Wars that M20 is being designed to overcome? Thanks.

          • Quinn Y
            July 17, 2014 at 9:17 am

            Yes we can

          • Quinn Y
            July 17, 2014 at 9:20 am

            I mean, you’re right

      • Jonathan
        July 18, 2014 at 10:23 am

        It’s a small thing, but Paradigma is a status thing for the SoE. I have played a young SoE and an older VA who both had the goal of being published in Paradigma. There are many small things that make you feel like your character has progressed story wise. Going to Horizon the first time, getting into the Spy’s Demise, raiding a Technocracy construct, visiting another planet, doing your first seeking, getting published in Paradigma, and so many more are all interesting progression storywise and I hate to lose one even if it doesn’t get many words.

  26. JezMiller
    July 16, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    “D&D is no place for any mention of sex”? Ho-hum. “Dahhhhh-ling, this *highly* revealing chainmail bikini is what ALL the very *best* people are wearing in the City of Greyhawk this days. It’s not about sex, it’s about Haute Couture…”.

    In some ways, the strength of White Wolf’s approach to diversity is precisely that you don’t make a big deal of it. If being (say) gay makes you feel excluded and isolated, then having a “token gay”, a character whose purpose in the story is to BE gay, is only going to make the problem worse – it emphasizes the niche-ness, the different-ness, the not-the-same-as-everyone-else-ness.

    That was why I thought the approach that Stephen Kenson took in Crossroads was a stroke of genius – we don’t find out that the narrator character is gay until the last few pages because, except for one female protagonist who’s developed feelings for him, *it doesn’t matter*. It wouldn’t have affected the plot an iota if his murdered lover had simply been a beloved mentor instead. Tommy Talon is able to be gay without being limited, boxed, labelled, defined, stereotyped or restricted by it.

    That’s what separates inclusiveness from mere tokenism, and it’s the approach you seem to have taken as both White Wolf and Onyx Path. Would it have made a difference to the Trinity of Constantinople if the Dracon had been a woman rather than a man? (Come to think of it, bad example; he was a Tzimisce Methuselah, how can you be sure he wasn’t?). Does it matter that Myca Vykos and Ilias cel Frumos are both male? No; the issue is that Ilias is leading Vykos onto a new Road of Morality that Symeon would strongly disapprove of. Does it matter that Inglorious I and Brother Mockingbird are both male? No; again, the issues raised by their relationship are about doctrinal orthodoxy. Does it matter that the “Friends with Benefits” Anchor and the Kindred in the example are both male? No.

    Less can sometimes be more. Mentioning something in passing can, paradoxically, have a far bigger impact than putting it in a box in bold text. And basically, I think you’re doing it right at the moment.

    • richt
      July 16, 2014 at 5:51 pm

      Glad to hear it, because by and large I prefer that the use of a character, any character, in the material be true to what makes that character interesting in the story or setting.

  27. GregN
    July 17, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    Bought a heather grey Silent Strider zip hoodie off Redbubble on 7/9, arrived yesterday afternoon. Quick turn around and pretty good quality. They’re more of a slimmer fit, so if you’re ordering, you may want to go a size up from normal.

  28. Quinn Y
    July 18, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    Oh my God. This archaeological discovery concerning the Inca is very cool and very weird. The imagery is awesome for a MAGE the Ascension game. http://www.nbcnews.com/science/science-news/1-500-year-old-claws-intrigue-archaeologists-peru-n154151

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