Answers About Valcrest (And That Email Response)

Welp, I finished Season 6 of MLP and HOLY CRAP that finale was fantastic!

So, now, I’ll address that email I got at the end of this post, but first I got a couple of more interesting responses to that “Rape In Media” post I did. Some questions relating to how I envision making the Shadows Series rewrites more mature and what that entails, but also… My friend from China; who is a feminist (and Twilight fan, which I consider to be such a beautiful contradiction), asked me some questions about women and their roles in Valcrest society, which led to a lengthy late night email chat. So I’d like to address these questions first because they are legitimate questions about how some of the things I mention in that post fit into my own work.

And, just to be absolutely clear; this is my take on the matter. I’m not officially speaking for Doom or Wifey. I say this because there are things answered here that we haven’t actually sat down as a team and discussed, so this is my take on it, but if we later have a conversation and decide otherwise; it will be changed.

I just read your blog post. Good stuff, but… I’m kind of wondering how much darker are you planning to make the rewrites?

Roleplaygateway.com is a site that has many users under the age of thirteen, therefore, we are advised; if not required, to refrain from writing things that might mentally scar these impressionable little children for life. I… Am honestly not sure how well we do in that department as of SOF,  but we do try. And I personally do tone myself down a bit where it comes to addressing certain things. Because up until recently our RP was featured on the front page of the site and it was a lot more likely than people might be curious and look into it. In fact, it was common for me to go into the chat section of the RP and see other users or visitors browsing it. So yeah, there was that. >.>

The rewrites will be published outside RPG, though. I’m not sure exactly where (other than WP and deviant art); I’m going to be using Shadows Rise to test the best places to do this, in fact. One thing I am sure of, however, is that we’re going to be doing our own thing and… Well… There’ll be no such restrictions anymore.

How does that affect our actual content? Welp…

It’s not like I plan to have people get explicitly raped left and right because ‘woohoo, we don’t have to be PG-13 anymore!’. Nothing like that. When I mention I want to make the series darker, I generally mean that I want to take this more adult tone we’ve gained during SOF and use it right from the get-go. It’s not going to be 100% dark and dreary; I don’t want to lose any of our in-jokes and our silly moments, but it’s not going to sugarcoat the bad when it does get bad. And the few followers of this blog who read SOF will know that there are some really bad… bads… going on right about now. o.O

You’re not going explicit on me, then?

Me personally? No. Not where it comes to sex or sexual violence. If Wifey or Doom feel comfortable taking that a bit further, I won’t object to it; we were never writing a kid’s adventure series here, but (at this point in time at least) I don’t plan on writing it myself. There are some things I was reluctant to bring up originally that I plan to be more open about, but nothing that needs to be explicitly written as far as I can tell.

Other than approaching sexual themes, how else would you consider SOF more adult than the previous RPs?

SOF logic: Crys walks out of having an emotional break in a locked room with a dislocated shoulder and glass jammed in her eye socket.

SOE Logic: Everyone gets nearly exploded; not a fucking scratch

SOE was great, don’t get me wrong, but we were new at this and still getting to know these characters ourselves, which doesn’t make for the best of character development. That’s the main thing wrong with it in my opinion. And, where it comes to my characters at least, I feel a lot of it was due to me not wanting to take the time to explore how some things emotionally affected my characters. I was trying to be the GM and keep the plot moving, my focus was more on getting characters from point A to point B without taking the time to explore their journeys fully.

That is to say… In the rewrites, people are going to get more realistically fucked up; physically, mentally, and emotionally, right from the get-go. Simple as that.

So these were one of my friend’s questions. And I wanted to clarify that I wasn’t advocating for sexual violence (despite my title). The only thing I was advocating was a writer’s freedom to decide what best fits their story without fear of it being vetoed for containing a certain subject matter; without regard for how that subject is portrayed within the story.

And yes I think we need more rape in fiction if it means one day being able to acknowledge and discuss difficult topics without fear of PC-advocates immediately calling it glorification.

On to my other friend’s questions. Keep in mind, this friend is a feminist and (although I don’t use that word with her; and she doesn’t take to that term) one might consider her SJW-leaning. She’s not a radical, but we disagree on things a lot.

What are the odds of LGBTQ characters ever being represented in this series?

I’m not sure what exactly fits into the LGBTQ category anymore; and again, I can only answer these for myself and for what characters I write and will consider writing. So what I can say is this: I have an NPC; Nicholas, who is bisexual. I have one NPC, who I will not name, who is asexual and aromantic.

Amber is complicated and I refuse to label her.

Leave Alistair alone. >.>

And I’ve explained this multiple times before; when it comes to sexual orientation and many other things about my characters, I don’t actually know until after I start writing them. And unless it becomes relevant it won’t ever be revealed. Ever. Like with Alistair. I may know (now) what his orientation is, but I’m not going to outright say it here just because some people (you know who you are) want to know. If it comes up it does. If it doesn’t come up; well… You’re free to assume whatever, just don’t ask me to confirm or deny your headcanons.

As for gender… The odds of me writing transgender or non-binary characters are less than zero right now. I don’t even know what other kinds of gender identities people have been claiming either at this point so again; less than zero chances.

Is gay marriage legal in Valcrest?

If or when we have a gay couple intending to marry we’ll discuss it. Until then, I consider Valcrest society indifferent to people’s sexual preferences, but I’m not sure about legal union. It’s likely for certain laws to be different in Blackpond than Newhaven as well; which would be something to consider if that ever became relevant.

What are the roles of women within the Crimson Shadows? It’s been mentioned a few times that Indrani had to fight to assert her position in the clan and there are no mentions of other female warriors.

I’m not going to give too much info here, because if all goes well, I plan to go a bit more into the Crimson and their culture in the RP itself.

I will say that, despite being a mercenary clan, the Crimson are above all else the remains of two people who were nearly annihilated. Their main concern is keeping what’s left of their culture; their history, alive. That’s why at the first sign of danger they will seek to protect their women and children. After the two attacks they’ve suffered during SOF, most of the survivors are in fact, women and children. Their warrior ranks are bare.

That said, there are female warriors. They are rare, but they exist, and they aren’t considered any less competent. Indrani is just their first female Commander. That means not only being a warrior but also being the one responsible for the camp’s defenses as well as training future generations of warriors.

She had to prove herself as someone their recruits would fear, respect, and aspire to be, not simply as someone capable of combat. Even if she wasn’t a woman, anyone as young as she was taking on that level of responsibility would be met with suspicion. Which now is irrelevant because she did prove herself ten times over. No one questions her competence if they have sense in their heads. >.>

As for the rest of Valcrest; women are allowed to seek out any type of work they’d like as long as they capable of doing it and there are many prominent military women in both cities.The Pack has had female leaders for ages… For the most part, it’s not all that bad being a chick. Actually, let me rephrase that; being a chick is as bad as being anyone else.

What about age of consent and rape laws?

Rape is illegal in the cities and punishable by death in the Wolfpack and Crimson Shadows.

That said, in Newhaven (and possibly Blackpond), if a man forces his wife to have sex it’s not considered rape and a man of any age can legally marry a girl as young as thirteen if her parents consent. Which is what happened with Deidra in her first ‘marriage’. It’s not treated as something that is okay to do, but it’s the law as is currently written.

In the Crimson Shadows any type of violence against a woman; spouse or not, is severely and publicly punished. The extent of the punishment depends on the severity of the violence. Like I said; rape is punishable by death. Violence against children; even by the parents, is treated with the same seriousness.

Marriage is not common amongst the Wolves and doesn’t influence their laws whatsoever; violence is violence, rape is rape, they’re both considered punishable offenses within their law.

As for the age of consent; as young as 13, with parental consent, in the cities. Otherwise fifteen.

Sixteen within the Crimson; no exceptions.

I have no idea about the Wolfpack, I’m going to say fifteen, though, because that’s how old you have to be to kill for the clan. I think that’d make you an adult in their eyes.

There’s never been a case of rape or murder within the White Shadows, but if there were… I think Annie might ask Luckas to carry out the sentence. Age of consent and marriage is sixteen.

So yeah, these were all her questions that are relevant to this topic, so… now I’m going to talk about the contents of that email.

I wasn’t being sarcastic on my ‘call out’ post; this person was actually really nice which confuses me as to why they didn’t want to give their real email. I wouldn’t even have brought it up if they had given me a way to answer directly. Oh well.

The first thing I’d like to address….

First of all; how could you title a post that way? I’m assuming the reason you did so was for clickbait. Unless you’d like to see an increase in rape scenes in media (for some sick reason) that title makes no sense and shouldn’t be there.

What, because I said ‘rape’ in the title? I’m shit at titles and I had to come up with one I thought would accurately represent the subject of the post. And no. I didn’t title it “I want to see more rape in media (for some sick reason)”. I titled it “why we need more rape in media”. I explain in my post why I believe it’s necessary. At no point did I say I enjoy watching rape scenes.

And yes, it was totally clickbait. All those ten views I got on that post were click baited.

Seriously, I get about 20 views on a good day… If I cared about click-baiting I would’ve started putting ‘boobs’ on the title of every post ages ago.

Secondly…

I have to say I do agree to some extent that not all rape scenes are pointless within a story, but we live in a culture where more and more it is becoming acceptable for men to harass women under the guise of free speech and liberty of expression. The normalization of rape by some TV shows, like your beloved Game of Thrones, is a dangerous step to creating a rape culture. It’s sad that you think these showrunners taking steps to prevent this from happening is such a horrible, creativity-stifling thing in your book, but I for one completely agree that it is a step in the right direction.

*sigh* Alright… Alright, alright, alright, alright…

Listen, ‘rape culture’ implies that we live, or are in the verge of living, in a culture where rape is widely accepted by society. Which, I don’t know where you live, but in Western Society, this is not a thing that exists. There is rape; yes. It does happen, but the general consensus is that rape is fucking horrible. No one outside of rapists themselves condones that shit. So we are not creating a ‘rape culture’ and I really wish people would stop saying that shit like it means something.

Also, I can’t think of one scene in GoT where rape or sexual violence is portrayed as the norm. Actually, even consensual sex in that show is rather… freaky.

All due respect, whoever you are; you’re just spewing lines at me with little to no substance behind them.

Still, all the best to you regardless. ^^

That’s it, guys! I’mma try and get some NITWIT out or a review or something else that doesn’t have to do with… Feminism and crap like this… At some point this week.

Later!

B.B

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