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Mechashef

The Interior Art Needs to Change

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4 hours ago, Videopete said:

A vast majority of the art that has nudity is so stylised and abstract that its a stretch to call it NSFW. I mean some of this kind of stuff was in my elementary school text book.

This is apparently one of the pieces identified as "borderline" pornography:

2039097974_ScreenShot2018-09-18at3_48_53pm.png.17f79128c3853ab23db9df85ad25324b.png

As I said in my earlier comment, while it's a shame the original poster had to go through an ordeal at work after being accused of reading "inappropriate" content, taking umbrage at innocuous images such as these is way out of step with mainstream community standards in Australia (and I suspect pretty much anywhere RQG is freely available).

 

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4 minutes ago, MOB said:

This is apparently one of the pieces identified as "borderline" pornography:

2039097974_ScreenShot2018-09-18at3_48_53pm.png.17f79128c3853ab23db9df85ad25324b.png

As I said in my earlier comment, while it's a shame the original poster had to go through an ordeal at work after being accused of reading "inappropriate" content, taking umbrage at innocuous images such as these is way out of step with mainstream community standards in Australia (and I suspect pretty much anywhere RQG is freely available).

 

I don't wish to rock the OP's boat, but frankly some of this "criticism" is far beyond "reasonable."

The standards by which these people are judging NEED to be pushed-back-on!   👿

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2 minutes ago, g33k said:

I don't wish to rock the OP's boat, but frankly some of this "criticism" is far beyond "reasonable."

The standards by which these people are judging NEED to be pushed-back-on!   👿

Agreed. But to put things in perspective, its really hard to push back unless you are independently wealthy.

These are employers that are following guidance from various governments and court rulings in an effort to not be hauled into court themselves on charges (that can happen here in the States) of creating/allowing a "hostile work environment". The only real way to protest with enough emphasis is to quit. Most simply do not have the resources to be able to do that.

SDLeary

 

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29 minutes ago, SDLeary said:

Agreed. But to put things in perspective, its really hard to push back unless you are independently wealthy.

These are employers that are following guidance from various governments and court rulings in an effort to not be hauled into court themselves on charges (that can happen here in the States) of creating/allowing a "hostile work environment". The only real way to protest with enough emphasis is to quit. Most simply do not have the resources to be able to do that.

SDLeary

Alas; you may be right.  There is this terrible legislative/bureaucratic overreaction... macho assholes hang Playboy centerfolds on the wall, "accidentally" expose their female coworkers to internet porn... and the reaction ends up with RQG (or other reasonable content) being evaluated/banned as pornography.

I'd think some freedom-of-speech advocates (in the States, I'd consider the ACLU/etc; dunno the Aussie flavor of that, if any) might want to look at this, because the "little guy" (as you note) can't afford to.

We need to get away from the lowest / most-restrictive / least-tolerant common denominator being able to dictate to everyone (without allowing the macho assholes to harass women).

Particularly worrisome (to me) is the OP's report that the PDF was on his OWN computer, and in an out-of-the-way (not obtrusively visible) place... and that didn't matter!?!!?  Invasion of privacy?

 

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On 9/17/2018 at 2:18 PM, Mechashef said:

Though my view is probably influenced by memories of D&D and RQ both being banned from my highschool because of a widely circulated (and largely inaccurate) pamphlet published by the Australian Federation for Decency (I still have a copy of that pamphlet somewhere).  Other games benefited from that (ironically Call of Cthulhu wasn’t banned).

 

In the late 80s when I was in college, one of the guys we played with had permission to use a church utility room for gaming. The only stipulation was no D&D. We didn't use it much, but the few times we did we were playing CoC and the irony was not lost on anyone. The church officials who granted him use of the room didn't actually care, they saw gaming as a positive activity for young people. I mean we could have been out drinking and trying to break a few commandments as young people are often inclined to do. 😉 

The only reason they singled out D&D was because it was the only game with enough recognition to offend some of the more offendable church members. 

 

It may be more common these days but I think there has always been a select group that lives to be offended.

 

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4 hours ago, SDLeary said:

Agreed. But to put things in perspective, its really hard to push back unless you are independently wealthy.

These are employers that are following guidance from various governments and court rulings in an effort to not be hauled into court themselves on charges (that can happen here in the States) of creating/allowing a "hostile work environment". The only real way to protest with enough emphasis is to quit. Most simply do not have the resources to be able to do that.

SDLeary

 

The pushback needs to happen in court.  Suing the employer for harrassment over art and claiming it is creating its own "hostile work environment".

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1 minute ago, Pentallion said:

The pushback needs to happen in court.  Suing the employer for harrassment over art and claiming it is creating its own "hostile work environment".

q.v. @SDLeary's "independently wealthy" and "Most simply do not have the resources to be able to do that."   😥

If I had to guess, I'd Guess @Mechashef is a gov't employee, or works for an employer who is mostly/entirely a gov't contractor.

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3 hours ago, Pentallion said:

The pushback needs to happen in court.  Suing the employer for harrassment over art and claiming it is creating its own "hostile work environment".

Exactly. Fight fire with fire. Part of me is worried the battle may already be lost in some parts, though. 

Edited by Grievous

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6 hours ago, Toadmaster said:

 

In the late 80s when I was in college, one of the guys we played with had permission to use a church utility room for gaming. The only stipulation was no D&D. We didn't use it much, but the few times we did we were playing CoC and the irony was not lost on anyone. The church officials who granted him use of the room didn't actually care, they saw gaming as a positive activity for young people. I mean we could have been out drinking and trying to break a few commandments as young people are often inclined to do. 😉 

The only reason they singled out D&D was because it was the only game with enough recognition to offend some of the more offendable church members. 

 

It may be more common these days but I think there has always been a select group that lives to be offended.

 

When I was a kid, our Methodist minister encouraged us to play D&D and other roleplaying games. He figured it was creative, got kids interested in mythology, and had kids think about "being in the shoes of another". 

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Over the past few days, I have discussed this issue with friends who work in various government departments, friends who work in private industry (typically large multinationals) my adult sons who graduated college (last year of high school) a couple of years ago, their friends, and my teenage daughter.

Every one of them has without hesitation stated that at least a couple of the images are Not Safe for Work.

As some people guessed, I'm a contractor for a Government Department (I'm actually a permanent employee for an American Software Company).  There are images in the book that are not appropriate for work for either of those organisations (yes that does include the US company for those who insist that this is just an Australian thing). 

That is not my opinion.

That is not me trolling.

That is a fact.

 

Perhaps it would be interesting for people to bring the book into their workplace and ask their manager or HR department to give an opinion (this especially applies to the poster whose son has just moved to Canberra.  I wonder what his employer's opinion would be).  I have no doubts some organisations would have no issues with the images.  But some others will.

 

No-one I showed the images to would be comfortable reading them (either in electronic or paper form) at their desk or while having lunch at the local mall.  The thoughts on acceptability at schools did vary, from not acceptable at public high school to probably Ok at public college, to definitely not allowable at private schools.

People can argue all day about how that is wrong and if it was them in this position they would stand up for their rights but as a contractor you don't get fired, they just don't renew your contract (the Department doesn't have to give a reason for that), but as it is not your house and family that are at risk, your opinions mean nothing to me.

 

I repeat that I myself do not have a problem with the images.  I was actually surprised at how overwhelming the response was (it was particularly strong from the women I consulted).

My paycheck doesn't depend on how well the books sell, but if it did, at the very least I would be doing some research into this issue.

 

And as a heads up for those who are not from this country, be very wary about listening to other's opinions on Canberra.  Many Australians have an uninformed (or deliberately inaccurate) view of the city.

Sure, as it is only about 400,000 people it doesn't have the nightlife to compare with a city of 4 million or more, but it is actually the least conservative Australian city.  For example until recently it was the porn capital of the country, the first to legalise brothels and the first to legalise Same Sex Marriage (though that was overturned by the Federal Government because we are a Territory not a State) and iirc the first to decriminalise marijuana.

Besides both the Government Department and the Multinational I work for exist in other states (including offices in Sydney and Melbourne) so it is not just a Canberra thing.

 

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I still think that the issue would never arisen if the OP was working at work and not reading the PDF...

that aside i can understand the concerns mentioned...but...these seem to be based on a very "western" contemporary viewpoint (perhaps neo-feminist or anti patriarchial) which seems to say exposed nipples of a woman relate to sex...this isnt the case in the ancient world or in many other cultures....

are we to say we should whitewash the ceiling of the sistine chapel ? or paint a censorr strip across the Birth  of Venus or chip away the marble of the Venus  de Milo? I think not...

Edited by Martin

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Well I guess it just goes to show that there are lots of different subcultures out there with very different standards of what is acceptable and what is not. I guess you won’t be preordering my illustrated work on Arkati tantric Illumination rites then? 

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The book is what it is.

Read it where you are comfortable it will not offend anyone.

I don't personally feel the need to read my gaming books in public places, but if I did I would probably avoid Vampire: The Masquerade and Empire of the Petal Throne given the tone of some of the artwork.

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36 minutes ago, Jeff said:

I guess you won’t be preordering my illustrated work on Arkati tantric Illumination rites then? 

I guess not for lunch break reading.

How far down the pipeline is that? Does Kalin know?

 

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1 hour ago, Mechashef said:

That is not my opinion.

That is not me trolling.

That is a fact.

Well, it's not a fact like the Earth is round, it's actually a fact about an opinion - maybe an influential opinion in your sphere, but still an opinion.

No one would bat an eye at my workplace (however I'm sure plenty of people would find the art pretty damn cool), though I'm sure a conversation about roleplaying games would follow (which I might not have the patience for). I would have to go out of my way to find a place where reading the book would cause anything like this ruckus - like really out of my way to find some deeply religious and conservative environment or maybe a space where neo-feminists who like their cues from (mostly) American affairs congregate (I guess I could find this at the local Uni, if I went looking into the right basements). And oddly enough I live in a repressive socialist dystopia (at least that's what I hear) called Finland.

That said, I am worried that this kind of puritanical thinking could be spreading, but ahhh that's politics and maybe beyond the scope of this forum. Anyway, I'm sorry you have to deal with this kind of thing, esp. since this really isn't your opinion. I wonder why you are bringing other people's prejudices to the table though? You say there's a financial incentive for Chaosium, but one wonders which way that incentive truly lies. Maybe that's worth study, maybe not. I also think it displays some character, which helps you stand out, so maybe being brave in your marketing is the way to do it? ("Just do it", for example). And I mean we're hardly talking about anything that is even borderline risque.

That said, I am interested in this Arkati tantric manual. 😅

Edited by Grievous

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1 hour ago, Mechashef said:

Over the past few days, I have discussed this issue with friends who work in various government departments, friends who work in private industry (typically large multinationals) my adult sons who graduated college (last year of high school) a couple of years ago, their friends, and my teenage daughter.

Every one of them has without hesitation stated that at least a couple of the images are Not Safe for Work.

As some people guessed, I'm a contractor for a Government Department (I'm actually a permanent employee for an American Software Company).  There are images in the book that are not appropriate for work for either of those organisations (yes that does include the US company for those who insist that this is just an Australian thing). 

That is not my opinion.

That is not me trolling.

That is a fact.

 

Perhaps it would be interesting for people to bring the book into their workplace and ask their manager or HR department to give an opinion (this especially applies to the poster whose son has just moved to Canberra.  I wonder what his employer's opinion would be).  I have no doubts some organisations would have no issues with the images.  But some others will.

 

No-one I showed the images to would be comfortable reading them (either in electronic or paper form) at their desk or while having lunch at the local mall.  The thoughts on acceptability at schools did vary, from not acceptable at public high school to probably Ok at public college, to definitely not allowable at private schools.

People can argue all day about how that is wrong and if it was them in this position they would stand up for their rights but as a contractor you don't get fired, they just don't renew your contract (the Department doesn't have to give a reason for that), but as it is not your house and family that are at risk, your opinions mean nothing to me.

 

I repeat that I myself do not have a problem with the images.  I was actually surprised at how overwhelming the response was (it was particularly strong from the women I consulted).

My paycheck doesn't depend on how well the books sell, but if it did, at the very least I would be doing some research into this issue.

 

And as a heads up for those who are not from this country, be very wary about listening to other's opinions on Canberra.  Many Australians have an uninformed (or deliberately inaccurate) view of the city.

Sure, as it is only about 400,000 people it doesn't have the nightlife to compare with a city of 4 million or more, but it is actually the least conservative Australian city.  For example until recently it was the porn capital of the country, the first to legalise brothels and the first to legalise Same Sex Marriage (though that was overturned by the Federal Government because we are a Territory not a State) and iirc the first to decriminalise marijuana.

Besides both the Government Department and the Multinational I work for exist in other states (including offices in Sydney and Melbourne) so it is not just a Canberra thing.

 

Without offence, if it's such an issue in these places, wouldn't it be better to not bring copies of the book there and only read it at home?

I don't really understand your point, do you want Chaosium to censor itself to avoid the risks of customers bringing their products where they are not welcome...? Is that not just a personal problem?

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17 minutes ago, Grievous said:

And I mean we're hardly talking about anything that is even borderline risque.

The original poster has said the person at their workplace who complained has a "long history of making similar complaints" about "things that are offensive to his culture". That the workplace came to an official conclusion that the artwork in the RQG book is "borderline" pornographic sounds like pandering to that person and a massive overreaction, for whatever reason. The art is nothing of the sort.

1 hour ago, Mechashef said:

I repeat that I myself do not have a problem with the images. 

Stridently titling this thread "The interior art needs to change" is acting a bit like the vexatious person who took offence and caused you so much grief though, isn't it? Here's an alternative that would get more sympathy and understanding: "You'll be gobsmacked to learn what happened to me after innocuously reading RQG on my lunch-break at work today." 

The art doesn't need to change. The art is not going to change. The book is coming out in print on Friday.

Edited by MOB
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12 hours ago, MOB said:

This is apparently one of the pieces identified as "borderline" pornography:

2039097974_ScreenShot2018-09-18at3_48_53pm.png.17f79128c3853ab23db9df85ad25324b.png

As I said in my earlier comment, while it's a shame the original poster had to go through an ordeal at work after being accused of reading "inappropriate" content, taking umbrage at innocuous images such as these is way out of step with mainstream community standards in Australia (and I suspect pretty much anywhere RQG is freely available).

Insane.

11 hours ago, Toadmaster said:

It may be more common these days but I think there has always been a select group that lives to be offended.

Our gaming group in high school got kicked out of our after-school use of the library's gathering rooms (for which we'd signed up) because someone saw us through a window rolling weird dice.  We were kicked out because "there is no gambling allowed on school grounds"...we asked if that meant literally any game with dice (ie Yahtzee, Candyland, etc) would be banned, they remarked that "well that uses normal dice, not the gambling dice like you have" showing so very many levels of ignorance simultaneously it's breathtaking.

4 hours ago, Jeff said:

When I was a kid, our Methodist minister encouraged us to play D&D and other roleplaying games. He figured it was creative, got kids interested in mythology, and had kids think about "being in the shoes of another". 

...which is really a brilliant, thoughtful, and constructive approach.

2 hours ago, Grievous said:

Well, it's not a fact like the Earth is round, it's actually a fact about an opinion

Well, no, it IS a fact.  The images in the book (whether we agree or not) were found by his HR dept to be inappropriate.  That's the fact he has to deal with.  On a theoretical level, yes, he could protest/dispute it, but who's really going to do that.  So yes, like a "the earth is round" fact its the environment he MUST work in.

2 hours ago, Grievous said:

That said, I am worried that this kind of puritanical thinking could be spreading

IMO I don't think it's spreading, but I do think it's ossifying and polarizing.  The middle of the bell curve, where average people used to shrug and go "whatever" is evaporating, with more and more people (apparently) ending up in intolerant extremes where they push their personal worldview onto others, whether it's about nudity, violence, politics, climate change, etc.  With nudity you have one extreme of puritans insisting nobody should ever see a nipple (female, apparently male nipples are non-threatening).  OTOH you have the other extreme that don't have a problem exposing small children to (what I would call) ENTIRELY inappropriate content.

And just to be clear this is all sides of the political fence(s).  Sorry if this is deep and off-topic for this forum, but the OP's post touches on some fascinating, deep subjects and we have a really terrific mix of international viewpoints here, and generally cogent, insightful posters.  So for me it's interesting.

2 hours ago, Tarumath said:

Without offence, if it's such an issue in these places, wouldn't it be better to not bring copies of the book there and only read it at home?

I'd guess that he gets that now.  I don't think the startling level of sensitivity this individual displayed (to which HR *had* to respond, legally) was evident beforehand.

2 hours ago, MOB said:

The book is coming out in print on Friday.

Thank all the Lightbringers above.  My goodnes these days are passing slowly.

 

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4 hours ago, Jeff said:

Well I guess it just goes to show that there are lots of different subcultures out there with very different standards of what is acceptable and what is not. I guess you won’t be preordering my illustrated work on Arkati tantric Illumination rites then? 

Kickstarter, or just regular publication?  Sign me up either way.

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1 minute ago, Zozotroll said:

Kickstarter, or just regular publication?  Sign me up either way.

I'm thinking a glossy art book. With Runic chakras, tantric union of the polarities, subtle variations of myths as experienced through heroquests into the same event from different vantages, and cosmic awakening through understanding that every light has its shadow. That sort of thing. 

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4 hours ago, Mechashef said:

My paycheck doesn't depend on how well the books sell, but if it did, at the very least I would be doing some research into this issue.

I do honestly think the OP has a point here. I agree with others that the OP post was... a bit belligerent? but I did raise my eyebrows a bit at some of the content in the book.

Now, I want to remark that I do not think RQG is pornographic, and I do think it is done tastefully, and in a way which at least feels aesthetically representative of ancient cultures. (At least, of the Classical Greece that I've got some small expertise regarding. Hard to say for sure for me if it represents the Bronze Age, since Glorantha's seems more honestly a "Bronze" Age to me when compared to Earth.) The art throughout is beautiful, and it's a huge part of why I like RQG. I haven't felt so excited about an RPG's presentation since the ostentatious spell-tome aesthetic of D&D 3.5, when I first started playing.

However, if one of the goals of RQG is to spread itself to a wider, newer audience, I do think this art holds it back in that goal. It doesn't matter how stupid or parochial or patriarchal or subjective the opinions are, but a book with nudity (at least in the American market) is going to find less audience than one without. I struggle to imagine the game store in my area leaving RQG just laying out on shelves for people to browse through, when I ponder it, because some little kid will see a titty and some mother will start shouting and it's just not worth the trouble.

The distinction here isn't the content. The content, honestly, isn't important. What matters is the context. The Venus de Milo is in a museum--therefore it's Art. A statue in the center of the town park, or a college campus, is set up specifically to say "This Is Art." Because of the legacy of the eighties and gaming's reputation (thank you Dark Dungeons...) nudity in a gaming book comes across as smut. Not because of the quality or sensitivity (or lack thereof) but because it is in an RPG book.

I reckon that we can all more or less agree that RQG more or less doesn't involve content we believe is upsetting. I don't think the conversation about what is/isn't appropriate is productive, but I do feel like a conversation about what aesthetic choices will best help RQG grow is productive. Maybe I'm totally wrong about the American market--I'd certainly like to be mistaken. But I don't think I am.

4 hours ago, Jeff said:

I guess you won’t be preordering my illustrated work on Arkati tantric Illumination rites then? 

Reminds me of a certain book which was only hinted at within a certain game by a certain Ken Rolston... "The Lusty Argonian Maid," I believe it was called. Careful--I'm not sure this is a promise Chaosium can keep! :D

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For you old farts, here is a supplement I have waited for since wyrms footnotes #6, yea many years ago

 

"the X-rated supplement.  this is slowly coming along but Isaac still needs more articles submitted......Its contents may be offensive to some, but I know many of you have been in or run occasional adventures comparable to the trollkin S&M bar run by the checkered Demon" 

 

I have been waiting for this lo these many years.  Maybe Jeff can resurrect this one, then people will actually have something to be offended about.

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I would hope so.  You have to be pretty inept to not be able to find more porn than you can imagine on the net.  Chaosium should not compete with that.  But I like bronze/early iron in all its flawed glory.

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