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This topic contains 32 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  limburger 2 weeks, 4 days ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 33 total)
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  • #1303419

    limburger
    Participant
    4529xp

    https://www.white-wolf.com/newsblog/a-message-from-white-wolf

    It looks like White Wolf is (at least temporarily) going to stop developing books and focus on being a ‘brand’.

    In addition the website suggests that sales of Vampire V5 + Camarilla will be suspended as an apparently ‘insensitive’ bit on Chechnya is removed.
    That last bit makes me wonder just how bad this part of their recent game really is.

    It also has me a bit worried about digital distribution of media in general. I don’t mind fixes (grammar, spelling, rule clarifications, quality of life improvements), but changes to content ? That is a different beast.
    As a consumer I’d rather have a choice instead of being forced to accept such changes after purchase.

    Anyone got detailed info on the situation ?
    Considering the type of content that ‘World of Darkness’ ‘needs’ this seems weird to tamper with the content of a rpg that is aimed at adults with mature content and themes.

     

    • This topic was modified 3 weeks ago by  limburger. Reason: found the original source of the text
    #1303443

    avernos
    Participant
    6792xp

    see also http://www.beastsofwar.com/forums/topic/white-wolf-no-more/

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks ago by  avernos.
    #1303474

    limburger
    Participant
    4529xp

    Ah i missed that one

    #1303524

    inu53
    Participant
    1104xp

    From what I’ve seen most rpg books can be purchased as PDFs so if you’ve stored a copy offline, as you should with any such purchase, they won’t be able to Amazon you and pull the digital equivalent of breaking into your house and throwing the book in the fireplace (with 1984 no less, gg amazon).

    If it’s a pre-order you could always cancel, although if there’s content replaced because it’s disrepectful or exploitative in my case I’d be glad it was swapped out. Other people might not, ultimately the business will decide what to do based on the impact the possible decisions will make to their short and long term profitability. It strikes me though that this content probably had trouble seeing the line from where it was after stepping over it. A VP at paradox responds in the article below including defending the right to make difficult or sensitive content but ultimately condemning this particular content in his final quote.

    ”In the Chechnya chapter of the V5 Camarilla book, we lost sight of this. The result was a chapter that dealt with a real-world, ongoing tragedy in a crude and disrespectful way. We should have identified this either during the creative process or in editing. This did not happen, and for this we apologize.”

    https://icv2.com/articles/news/view/41862/paradox-takes-over-management-white-wolf-moving-license-publishing

    #1303525

    limburger
    Participant
    4529xp

    @inu53 that depends on the nature of the drm they’ve used.

    If it is pure PDF then changes/updates will only happen if you re-download.

    Amazon, Google and Apple all have the capability to alter any purchases without your consent, because their checks are on-line.

    Fact is that the very subject of Vampire is supposed to make you uneasy. These are creatures that treat humans as disposable blood vessels.  There will be innocent victims and you’re going to have to deal with the consequences of that.

    Never mind that the core vampire classes are pretty much crude stereotypes to begin with. To say nothing of the content they produced under the ‘black dog’ label which was even more explicit.
    I prefer to make my own decisions about what is ‘crude’ and ‘disrespectful’ when considering purchasing any content labelled as ‘mature’.

    IMHO Paradox interactive is in damage control mode, because they forgot what Vampire actually is and didn’t count on the pc nature that is sneaking into our hobby.

    #1303540

    inu53
    Participant
    1104xp

    I touched on the DRM issue in my post, but more importantly I really disagree that this has anything to do with pc-ness run amok (although it very well could have to do with other quality issues as you mention). What the creative team has done is taken an ongoing crisis where members of a vulnerable population since 2017 are being rounded up tortured and killed and have decided to use it as fluff in their source book; I’m certain a creative individual could find many ways to write an evil and disturbing vampire without running find-replace on an article from the day’s paper. Not only is it gross it’s lazy, can they do it though? Sure why not, I’d not censor someone but that right is not a shield from criticism or consequence.

    #1303541

    doctorether
    Participant
    3969xp

    So I will give some snippets here of an article I have written for Beast of War that will go up at some point, as @brennon asked me for it.

    Back in the early days of the original White Wolf, having gay, trans, bisexual, and people of all countries, creeds and skin colour represented was considered ground breaking. For some this was shocking. The language used in the books was shocking. The violence and gore, themes and stories were also hair raising. Presenting storylines that reflected modern issues of crime, drugs, sex, and hate, was progressive. It pushed boundaries. It was considered revolutionary. And it also pushed the buttons of people who felt such things should not be in games.

    White Wolf games in the process of representing our world with a sense of a hidden society, and a hidden history, has also written copious amounts of text that tells an alternative history. Alan Turing was a mage. Dracula was real. Caine and Able were real and Caine was the first vampire. The World of Darkness merged myth, folklore, and history.

    However, certain topics or events were recognised as requiring the right level of respect and decency when being addressed, given that survivors of these events still live, and presenting such real world events as being the fault of some “EVIL ™” monster, trivialises the fact that many thousands of people died due to the reprehensible actions of other people.

    Vampires kill, werewolves kill, mages do horrible things, but these are often the fault of their own alien state. A vampire kills, but more often than not they try not to. Werewolves have a rage so large, that it is a challenge to hold back. Mages simply see the world not as we see it and their hubris can bring unwanted consequences. Thus, a vampire is evil, because a curse that they barely keep in check is pushing them to perform such actions. But genocidal tyrants like Hitler, Mao, and Sadam Hussain, were not supernatural monsters driven to cause such carnage. No. Their ego, their need for power, their very human nature, is what makes them evil. It is quaint, and childish, to paint them in the World of Darkness as supernatural creatures. In fact, it is a far more powerful statement that they were just humans, and evil is not rooted in some curse or supernatural power. It is also more damning that supernatural creatures who have powers to stop such things are too wrapped up in their own affairs to care. Having Mankind be the ultimate cause of the greatest cause of grief and atrocities keeps the game grounded in reality. There is no out for people like Hitler, no way to dehumanise him or people of his ilk. That is far too easy and simple.

    Given the above, this is why the events of 9/11 were never attributed to a supernatural entity within the pages of the World of Darkness nor Chronicles of Darkness books. And likewise, one of the most compelling and horrifying books by White Wolf, Charnel Houses of Europe: The Shoah, addresses the Holocaust, but not from the angle of who caused it, but through the lens of the Jewish Wraiths who during it. The book is an educational and cathartic piece, allowing readers and players to deal with the consequences genocide.

    Alternative histories for events that are much older are perhaps easier to write, because we have the distance of time which allows for history, myth, and legend to merge.  The fact that so much time has passed that experts have a greater consensus of what actually happened. With more recent events, the issue of truth may not be with respect to what events have happened, but why such events happened. Truth after all is a three-edged sword. Rather than present such events as being caused by supernatural monsters, it is more interesting to explore how such creatures exploit the hardship, and take advantage of wars.

    So now let us address the most recent controversy White Wolf is at the centre of. In the recent book that concerns the Camarilla (a sect of vampires), there is a section that describes the events in Chechnya. Much of this book is written as in setting artefacts. Often in the manner of an account by some character. So the section regarding Chechnya is written as a first-hand account of both the real and supernatural events there. To cut a long story short Chechnya is presented as being a failed state, openly ruled by vampires. The genocide of homosexuals, and those who claimed to be homosexual, a very real atrocity that is taking place right now in Chechnya, is presented as being done to act as a smokescreen to the actual truth that vampires rule these lands openly and people are being bled in a regimented way to feed them.

    Let’s repeat that, but this time take the actual text from the book (Camarilla book that was recently pulled).

    “The recurring international controversy over the persecution of homosexuals is a clever media manipulation designed to keep the focus on Sharia law, away from the true inner workings of the republic. While homosexuals are indeed held in detention facilities for days, and humiliated, starved, tortured, and eventually fed upon and killed, this is not the point. The point is to distract from the truth of what Chechnya has become. That said, even among the Kindred any kind of “homosexual behaviour” is punished harshly. …There is unfortunately nothing we can do for our brothers and sisters in Chechnya who suffer under this — interference is ill-advised at this point, but should any Kindred (or even kine) seek asylum within regnums under our control, granting it may win allies to our side who are not just well-trained in combat and thankful to us, but also knowledgeable in the ways of a people who might already be preparing to attack us.”

    This chapter also presents the real world ruler of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, as being a thin-blooded vampire.

    Let that sink in for a moment. A man controlling a pogrom that is persecuting and executing homosexuals, a horrific and disgusting act, is being rationalised as being evil because he is a vampire.

    While I respect that the object of the chapter was to present a regime that the world should be more aware of, and to present a regime that acts as a good antagonist, the “Man”, to fight against, I am left with a sense that actual victims right now in cells, in fresh graves, or as refugees in other countries, are being presented as the collateral damage of a PR program to cover up that “vampires rule Chechnya and are EVIL ™” and that only “EVIL ™ vampires would do this”. All of this written so we can play a game where we can be hero vampires.

    The result of all of this is that over the last few days Russian and Chechian news is using all of this mess to their advantage to cover-up and deny the genocide.

    Thus what was meant to be a hard hitting, edgy, chapter, apparently meant to highlight the harm being done, has in fact backfired because it was written in such a juvenile way.

     

    #1303543

    limburger
    Participant
    4529xp

    @doctorether thanks for the info.

    Now that I know what was removed it makes sense.
    However … I really do wonder how they got this into a published book when the basic rule (‘do not attribute horrible events to supernatural’) should have been easy to apply and correct.

    It kind of makes me wonder why Paradox Interactive chose to be so vague.

    #1303544

    doctorether
    Participant
    3969xp

    @limburger no problem. If people ever listen to Darker Days Radio they will know my stance on what is in books, and what I present in the games I run are very different, as my personal tastes, and feelings of what is appropriate content, are very different. If I wanted to say, have the MEN bombing in Manchester done by Vampires, as part of my ongoing Manchester setting for V5, then sure. But that is my game. It would be crass and cheap in a book (but I don’t go that route at all because ew, and also it will nto be treated as such in my free content for Manchester as a setting for Vampire).

    Also too often I see part of the community cry “Whaaa…. PC, SJW, SNOWFLAKE…. ITS THE WORLD OF DARKNESS, NOT THE WORLD OF PUPPIES” is all just a sign that these people, to me, somehow missed the message of WW that these games allowed you to treat these topics, but with respect – of both the people you portray, and the people at your table. I just get a sense of a bunch of entitled gamers who are pissed that their game is now shipping late. And of course they couldn’t give a damn about being respectful or care about anyone who is not someone they can identify with (white, cis, het, normative, 1st world, Western). I say all of that given I fit into that Venn diagram and I am shocked at how callous people are who apparently are part of the gaming community I create content for.

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks ago by  doctorether.
    #1303546

    inu53
    Participant
    1104xp

    @doctorether A much better run down than I could have possibly given. @limburger I think what you bring up is the main reason for white wolf’s woes (as seen from 3000 feet by me), you’re right in that they completely disregarded a simple rule that would have prevented this. My gut tells me this is the last in a series of actions that led paradox to consider them untrustworthy. Why were they so vague though? Business I guess, but that answer infuriates me so I won’t have a nuanced take on why that might be the best course 🙂

    #1303547

    doctorether
    Participant
    3969xp

    @inu53 and to think, that is about a 1/4 of the article I have written on this and WW being edgy, and the how the community has and hasn’t taken on the ideals that WW has tried to promote, both future and past. All of which I hope is just an example of the issues other companies come up against when they try to change to be more inclusive, and are met by push back from a section of their fanbase (HI GW).

    #1303548

    doctorether
    Participant
    3969xp

    Furthermore, WW, as I was told in person by then CEO Tobias Sjorgen and lead ST Martin Ericsson, only ever intended to write in house the core setting bibles, so core books and faction books critical to the games. Those would then be the game books to guide other transmedia projects from licensees.

    So in some respects nothing has changed. Just a greater level of oversight.

    #1303560

    limburger
    Participant
    4529xp

    @doctorether

    yeah, fanbases can be pretty rotten and entitled.
    And I’m pretty sure a lot of the reaction WW/PI got was going to be that way no matter how they worded their response.

    However I do think that they could have been a bit more transparent in relaying that message.

    As I said my initial response was indeed *eep* censorship / what a bunch of wimps in part because that is what is happening a lot and in part because that response was so vague in describing what exactly was ‘wrong’ with that part of their product.

    The explanation as written by you made a heck of a lot more sense.

    @innu53 : I think it’s not so much a transgression by WW, but the result of a clash of company culture.
    Paradox Interactive and WW may not have been as compatible as either of them thought. PI probably underestimated just how incompatible their processes and management style were.

    #1303572

    doctorether
    Participant
    3969xp

    I would like to add that the issue with the chapter is not that it presents the regime in Chechnya in a bad light. But that is presents a situation as just simply being a PR exercise orchestrated to divert from other issues. LBGTQ+ people have reacted adversely to how their situation is presented as some make believe scenario perpetrated by make believe vampires. This is dangerous because, as Russia and Chechnya are doing right now on RT and other news outlets, are presenting this as all a case of Western anti-Russia PR. Now lets imagine if the country in question was the US and they reacted in the same manner. Then you see why this has backfired so spectacularly.

    #1303610

    inu53
    Participant
    1104xp

    @doctorether I’ll be keeping an eye out for that article, betting on the preview here I think it’ll be pretty interesting.

    @limburger I honestly hadn’t even considered culture clash despite it being a very obvious suspect here and having been through it myself (perhaps a repressed memory…). While the content in this case is the big issue I didn’t get a chance to address your other point much about DRM. When I’ve gotten rpg books digitally it’s usually a watermarked PDF without DRM (so your name for instance is baked into the header or footer of the text) unlike a book on kindle so it didn’t strike me much. In *general* though DRM is hugely problematic for consumer rights and even accountability; just imagine erasing or tweaking chapters over time to bury now problematic content. Or the famous self destructing DVD that tech bros were salivating over, I’m sure everyone bought the line that it wouldn’t ultimately be used to charge for content multiple times 🙂 There’s also an idea that was circulated, no doubt by a very bald goblin of a man, that perhaps digital books should be charged per page read. Purely to save you money on bad books and not to squeeze authors even more. Or to eventually make thousands off of many people on this site alone for say lord of the rings. I’m in software, as a living, if DRM was simply about ensuring people were compensated for their effort that would be another matter I could get on board with.

    Laws just haven’t caught up and the major groups are super committed to being allowed a disgusting level of control. In the future you’re just renti…sorry, licensing everything.

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