RPGs and ethics

Posted on Nov 9, 2022

TSR (the games company, eventually taken over by Hasbro) had a rather interesting code of ethics that evolved over the years. For a full list see here, where I copied the image below; what I found interesting is how hard they are trying to appeal to a certain demographic (the middle class parents of the kids that are to play these games). While overall there are some sensible bits, a few parts can be at best described as state propaganda (“Law enforcement officers are always good guys”, found explicitly in later editions). Notice also the very clean “good vs evil” dichotomy, which in practice means nothing – everyone sees themselves as the good guys within their moral space. White wolf comes in later on and tries to get people to play the monsters (i.e. vampires, werewolfs, mages etc), but it’s the cool monster type of good ends/horrible means. IMHO, the potential of RPGs to deal with system dynamics (i.e. identifying how institutions shape us) is largely unexplored.