On Life and Love

Tastee (del.icio.us) links!

These are my links for January 14th through January 30th:

  • Dungeons & Dragons & Racism – This post pretty much perfectly sums up my stance on race in D & D. "Just consider the underlying assumptions PCs make every time they encounter a humanoid they are familiar with. The underlying implication, that you know something about a person based on their race, is anathema to the state ethos of our modern society, yet we play a game that not only enforces this notion, but thrives on it." I often find the "lazy racism" in D & D games (esp. in the older versions) in players that treat the game-world as a fast-and-loose playground or who don't much consider race issues in real life.
  • "Web Design Resources I Use" – I'm rapidly falling in love with this list.
  • Database driven ACL with Zend Framework | JasonEisen Open Source – This is a pretty good implementation of a database-driven ACL setup in Zend. It's best to read the comments to help find the issues with the implementation, and I used models in lieu of straight SQL code. I generally loathe Zend, but since I have to work in it, I might as well do the best I can.


  • guyblade

    Yay racial evil.

    Every drow is evil unless it is a PC in which case it is lawful good. I always found it irritating that intellegent creatures always had a default alignment even when such things didn’t make sense. This was one of the things that Planescape Torment did right: lawful Succubus, evil Angel, good floating skull. Makes for a more interesting campaign when you have to evaluate everyone by their actions rather than their appearance.

    I was actually planning to create a D&D world where people who had commit various crimes (minor things) would be punished by being turned into liches and forced into serving the state to pay back their debts. This would have led to the (reformed) lawful good lich running the tavern or being the town crier.

    I’m actually more suprised by the way that the D&D group that I play with now reacts to chaotic characters. They take a “detect chaos” as equivalent to “detect evil” for basically every case. Very strange stuff.

  • Shannon

    D+D is the one instance where there actually are races. In the mundane world, I have an intense dislike of the word “race” – as meaningless as it is divisive. Define race. Show me a point on a color spectrum that differentiates two people. Are there different ethnic groups with shared physical characteristics – yes. Mostly as a response to environmental factors – darker skin to protection from the sun, lighter skin to allow the absorption of more sun in areas where that is needed. Flatter noses to cool air, higher noses to warm air, etc… Assumptions about personality or character based on these physical characteristics is just plain stupid. We have a world of people whose heritage is intermingled enough for most people to be considered a “mutt” in the dog world — something Obama has been quoted as saying he is.

    D+D’s concept of race takes after dog breeders — everyone is a pure-bred, therefore you can make assumptions based on appearance. Kind of like assuming all pit-bulls are dangerous, all chihuahuas are scared of everything, all golden retrievers sweet natured. No variance allowed. It makes the game simpler but at the same time reinforces the concept that stereotypes hold some validity. And while you may occasionally accurately make some assumptions about a person based on appearance and actions, you have to be prepared to be completely wrong.

    As for good and evil — they are subjective concepts for what fits with the individual’s and culture’s concepts of right and wrong. They are completely arbitrary and not absolutes, as they are often treated. Defining good and evil is about as tricky as defining god.

  • Lissa

    Guy: I would love to play in that D & D world. 😛

    Shannon: “And while you may occasionally accurately make some assumptions about a person based on appearance and actions, you have to be prepared to be completely wrong.” I wish more players didn’t start with the same tired ol’ assumptions in every D & D game. Orcs are evil/dumb/brutes, etc.