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Racial & Gender Stereotypes – Ep206

Comics are rife with racial and gender stereotypes, but Luke Cage is a bad MF
Comics are rife with racial and gender stereotypes, but Luke Cage is a bad MF

Whether it’s The Strange or Call of Duty stereotypes of race and gender still exist in games. Why?

Cast – Babs, Mike, Brandon, Brandi, Jayson, Shawn, Eric, Shannon & Dan
Items Mentioned:
The Strange, Dungeons & Dragons, Firefly, Shadowrun, Victoriana, DC Comics, Grand Theft Auto, Metroid

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If you have some input on this, leave a comment.


  1. Carlos Flores
    Carlos Flores March 24, 2015

    Wonder a woman is far from the female superman. She is the daughter of Zeus, new God of War. And the heir to the most female empowered society. She marked a generation of women who now are the new CEOs, researchers and stakeholders in a society which is slowly going towards gender equality.

    • Jayson
      Jayson March 30, 2015

      I believe Wonder Woman is Superman’s equal in the DC Universe. As a kid, I always thought they should be married/dating/etc. When they did (are?) I was actually kind of put off by it. She doesn’t need Superman. Poor Steve Trevor.

      Thanks for listening!


  2. this_is_Dan
    this_is_Dan March 24, 2015

    I love the current Wonder Woman!

    I’m pretty sure Babs was referring to Wonder Woman’s power level being on par with Superman. In Mutants & Masterminds 3e (DC Adventures) WW & SM are both power level 15 and we all thought that was the right way to go.

    Thank you for listening!,

  3. mrm1138
    mrm1138 March 24, 2015

    I haven’t read the core book for The Strange, so I can only go by what’s mentioned here in this episode. It sounds like one of the more egregious elements of the Thunder Plains is the fact that, while it may portray elements of Native American culture in a positive light, it does so in a reductive way, such as in the “noble savage” stereotype. I’m sure this was in no way the intent of anyone at Monte Cook Games, and I hope their reputation doesn’t suffer too much for this.

    Probably the best way I can think of them to mitigate the situation would be for them to come out with a source book of some sort for the Thunder Plains (which one of the panel members speculated had been the intent) and consult with a few members of various tribes, preferably people who are both scholars and tabletop gamers. Of course, I’m not sure how feasible this would be.

    • Gamerstable
      Gamerstable March 30, 2015

      As stated in the episode, it is the belief of the table that Monte likely didn’t intend it maliciously, and it’s very likely that further products will be handled with more sensitivity.

    • Jayson
      Jayson March 30, 2015

      I think it’s a great idea to try and do some community outreach, but, as I said, it’s unrealistic to be able to contact or satisfy them all.

  4. Scott
    Scott March 24, 2015

    A very topical and interesting ep…and you guys almost managed to keep it serious all the way through.;) They have changed the orcs are from Africa thing in Victoriana 3rd Ed. They are now primarily from the Orkney Islands, IIRC. I’m not sure if there is supposed to be a joke in that or not. And I have to say that I was really surprised when I heard that they had made that part of the background in 2nd Ed. It really did border on the offensive.

    • Gamerstable
      Gamerstable March 30, 2015

      So glad to hear that that was changed. Victoriana is still one of our favorite games, though we haven’t had the opportunity to dig into the politics of it so much.

    • Jayson
      Jayson March 30, 2015

      I’m glad to hear that. I feel bad for the IRL people of the Orkney Isles, but come on – it’s just so obvious.

    • Scott
      Scott March 30, 2015

      I’ve been really curious to ask Walt about race relations in the 3rd Ed Vic rpg, but don’t want to sound insensitive on the subject. Particularly, in regards to the fact that the ACW has yet to occur (though apparently is simmering) and how the inclusion of Automata into society has influenced the slave trade of the time…particularly in the Southern states.

  5. Michael Phillips
    Michael Phillips March 24, 2015

    Making your minorities purely noble and good is almost as bad as traditional racism. You are still othering and excluding people from taking part in the world. The noble savage and the magical negro and the good/smart Asian are all harmful steriotypes as well as all of the negative ones.

  6. Hussman
    Hussman March 26, 2015

    Decent treatment for a tough topic. That said, it could have been better. That that said, totally understandable when considering schedules, prep necessary and the fact this ain’t your full-time jobs. So, there is your requisite “grain of salt” to take with these comments.

    Not sure when you recorded it, but it sounds like it was *after* MCG put out their statement on the issue on Facebook, which explained everything (from their side) of the story. There were questions in the ep about the whole MCG/Thunder Plains issue which would have been answered by reading the statement, and might have helped focus aspects of your discussion, which was still pretty solid, don’t get me wrong.

    One aspect you didn’t dive into when discussing Shadowrun, which I kind of thought you would’ve is how the game is practically built around dealing with issues of racism. It is a heavy theme within the game and begs to be explored. Humanis Policlubs, orcs as minorities, elitist elves with disdain for other races, etc.

    Speaking of FASA, they were actually quite progressive when it came to certain games. Back in 1993, when Earthdawn was released, any magic spell that dealt with charm/appeal/seduction used the phrase, “of the preferred sex” as opposed to “the opposite sex.”

    And although I vehemently disagree with your assessment of how men play female characters (at least from my personal perspective), I will admit that you are likely more right than wrong. Most men have no clue. The opposite is also likely true. However, that said, what difference does it really make what gender a PC is when you are playing in a game that doesn’t have any built in sexism or cultural norms?

    Of course, “Taco Drop” is now stuck in my head. That needs to be on a shirt. 🙂

    • Scott
      Scott March 28, 2015

      YMMV in regards to gender switching in RPGs. From my personal experience men can’t play female characters (and vice versa). Inevitably they always end up playing stereotypical archetypes.

    • Gamerstable
      Gamerstable March 30, 2015

      All excellent points.

      We used the Thunder Plains example without having read the Facebook post, frankly because we didn’t see it.

      • Jayson
        Jayson March 30, 2015

        It would appear as if the FB post was made after we recorded this, assuming the 3/20/15 date is correct.

        As it is, I take issue with its opening statement: “Last year, Monte Cook Games published an RPG called The Strange that involved otherworldly “recursions” based on the fiction of our own Earth.” Seems as if that could have been worded better.

    • Jayson
      Jayson March 30, 2015

      Yeah, I wanted to get into Shadowrun a bit more. I’d say 75% of the characters I play in SR are NANers. I’m fascinated by the idea of The People taking back so much of what they lost. Plus monofilament whips and Ares Predator V’s, of course.

  7. Amanda Rönne Idänge
    Amanda Rönne Idänge March 27, 2015

    I´d like to note a thing on the D´n´D Strength requirement. Historicaly swords, armour such were quite light (So you could fight longerr/better) so there shouldn´t be a strength any challange for a woman in Dn´d to swing a sword (even a big one) or wear a Paladdin armour.

    Although since I am not familiar with DnD I maybe misunderstood the “can´t be a paladdin” thing =)

    (another thing I just found out is that Rapiers are harder to use and require more strength than regular longsword/side-sword. Taken that way Zelda would Smash Link 😀 )

    • Gamerstable
      Gamerstable March 30, 2015

      The “can’t be a paladin” was a tongue-in-cheek, off the cuff example arbitrarily chosen by Eric to express how ridiculous the whole concept is. It was also in reference to those whom he had personally heard rail against female soldiers, firefighters and police officers. A position that he certainly does not agree with.

  8. Will Carroll
    Will Carroll April 9, 2015

    I think that you should do some research on the subject you are talking about before speaking on it. In The Strange there is a concept called Spark which represents how many people in a given world are sapient and the rest of the population is figments/drones/fodder and Thunder Plains has the lowest amount of Spark, so it seems that a world of giant magical crow people has more spark than those based on real people. Also it isn’t hundreds of tribes being represented it was two Lakota and Sioux which makes it worse in some ways.

  9. JC
    JC February 2, 2016

    Sorry to hear so many people commit political correct suicide. Such an over reaction to Monte’s FICTIONAL treatment. There is a complete difference between drawing inspiration from stereotypes and internationally lampooning something or disparaging someone. I’ve listened to enough podcasts to know that everyone in the cast is guilty of stereotyping in their game fiction. All setting and story information is stolen from somewhere before it is generalized or twisted. That’s what stereotyping is.
    Screw the dawn Political Correctness police. Quit fawning all over yourselves about who is the most culturally sensative and who is the racially magnanimous over apologizer is. When you appologize, you fall in the trap of admitting your bigotry, now you’re just apologizing for it, but it doesn’t matter cause you’ll always be a bigot.
    All your stuff, from plot to character is stolen, as you are an amalgamation of your experiences. Use whatever you want to create your gaming experience and screw the over sensative political Nazi who doesn’t even play the game anyway.
    Other than that good podcast, and it wouldn’t hurt to listen to Rush Limbaugh every know and then.

    • Gamerstable
      Gamerstable February 4, 2016

      Hypocrisy is one of our flaws, no doubt. Cultural sensitivity, or the lack of it, is a divisive subject. No matter where you fall on the matter, you offend someone. Thank you for your comment.

  10. JC
    JC February 2, 2016

    It’s also funny to listen to self admitted porn indulgers talk about how appalling sexism is, all while telling sexist jokes.
    I say quit apologizing for being white, middle class, and especially male.
    There is a difference between the genders, and thank God for that. I’m so sick of having to neuter everything. Maybe expressing the difference between the sexes in an RPG would help to alleviate the gender confusion and gender disforia that is making this PC culture so unpalatable. You can recognize the difference between the sees without being a sexist.

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