Racism is rampant in not just LOTR, but LOTRO as well. It even exists in many of the NPC quests, the Dunlendings vs the Rohirrim being one of the best examples. There's even a derogatory name that Tolkien made up: straw-heads. That's what Dunlendings call Rohirrim.
Characters will be racist. This does not mean the player behind the character is racist. Goodness, these races don't even exist in reality-- there's no such things as Gondorians, Haradrim, Dunlendings, or Rohirrim.
Racism is a hot button issue for a decent amount of people, yes, but part of being a heavy RPer is building a story that deals with character development, and often it deals with issues that make both a player and a character think. But, again, this plot is clearly targeting heavy RPers that want to create a story, like an interactive novel or screenplay. Racism *is* something that is dealt with even in children's literature (Harry Potter, for instance, with the races being wizard-blood and non-wizard blood). That all said...
Because the races of Rohirrim, Dunlendings, Gondorians, Dale-men, Haradrim, and so on are non-existent. How can the player behind the character be racist to a race that does not exist? It's like saying I am racist against Klingons. They don't exist, it's more or less impossible. I am not a Gondorian in real life. If a Bree-lander hates my character because she is a Gondorian, how can that possibly be against me? I am not a Gondorian.
First of all, you can't draw parallels between what Tolkien did, and what you're doing. Most people are familiar enough with the lore to understand how race plays into his worlds. But there is a massive difference between players experiencing a storyline that was brought to life by Tolkien and a gaming company whose motives and boundaries they trust, and a story and messaging that is clearly written by another player. They don't know you, they have no reason to trust you, or to believe there isn't something more to your words than just a harmless plot. How exactly do you expect the average player to distinguish your play-acted racism from actual racism? Narrative allegory has been used for harsh political purposes since time out of mind.
I also expect the average heavy RPer to have a good, solid OOC-IC boundary. My character is not me, and if you're a heavy RPer, your character should not be you. If you are exploring heavy RP and cannot distinguish between IC actions from the OOC player, then you (general 'you') need to step back and realise that this IS a story, an interactive script being built on the fly. That is what heavy RP is in its purist form.
Then that message is not for them. The message is written in a heavy RP format, and I do not see it directed at light RPers, non RPers, or even heavy RPers who have no interest in that sort of plot. It's not at all directed at them, in my humble opinion. I've seen the message many times and it seems to clearly state 'RP plot'.
Not everyone experiences the game like a book, with a compartmentalized narrative they make a conscious choice to participate in on a certain level, and with well-understood limits and boundaries. A great many people experience the game as an amorphous extension of their social activities. It's not a story for them or a book for them in the way you guys are implying. For them, sure there is a story and a lore and a fantasy world, but ultimately they are just real people hanging out with other real people. When they see a message in chat, they know a real person wrote it and a real person chose the message, and chose to post it there.
Do people really not realize that this is pretendy fun time (borrowing the term from a friend), and part of pretendy fun time for some people is acting another character through an interactive script? Pretendy fun time for many others who RP is music. For a lot of heavy RPers, the music community ruins engaging plot RP, but you don't see people trying to shut them down (at least to my knowledge). Even if a topic is sensitive, if it's a topic considered appropriate for the T-rated setting (if the topic is in Tolkien's works and children's books, I think that, however dark it gets in reality, it's still 'T'), then one cannot say to take it elsewhere. It's simply not against the Terms, and its audience is another group entirely.
(I don't know if I'd go the racism route for a public plotline myself, but if it doesn't break the T-rating, then anyone can make any public plotline they want).
I haven't read the whole thread so I don't know if someone has said that they felt like they were being condemned with the message of anti-foreigner propaganda when the foreigners are Rohirrim, Gondorrim, Elves, and so on, but they applied it to their reality. If that's the case, you certainly have my condolences. I have not lived through it nor can I imagine living through it.
Last edited by Laire; Apr 19 2014 at 07:26 AM.
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