Wednesday, September 18, 2019

A Deadlands Announcement

Earlier today, Pinnacle Entertainment Group, released the news that in the new edition of Deadlands the Confederate States of America would fall in 1871, changing the existing history where the CSA was alive and a political power in Reckoners' North America.

PEG's founder, Shane Hensley, also released a statement explaining why he made the decision.

I was wrong. Shane made the right decision and I am supporting them again.

First, it's a setting for a game, since I have both Classic and Savage Worlds editions already, if I want I can ignore it or change it even further (one poster mentioned Great Britain being in charge of the former CSA).

Second, I'm uncomfortable with changing things that were never intended to harm anyone. I worry that these types of decisions will lead to ones with a greater impact for far more people. I don't want to celebrate the Confederacy, but I don't want to forget about it either. We place little enough importance on history already, scrubbing it to make it more palatable, to me, is the wrong answer. Throughout the history of the U.S.A. we have faced aggressive political discord and as we stand in the middle of a very tense culture war, I'd like us all to remember that brother literally fighting brother happened and we are still feeling it's affects in the 21st century. 

In the end, Shane has every right to make the game fit his ideals, but because we live in an era of virtual activism (through shaming, doxxing, and bullying no less) I'm going to question his motivation and decide wether I want to stick with the products I own or crowdfund the revised setting when it's put on Kickstarter. I don't honestly see myself backing it because I feel "cancel culture" is growing far too dangerous and it makes me very uncomfortable.

I'm just one customer and Shane and PEG probably have plenty more moving forward.  I wish them luck, but I won't be supporting them further.


Jeff said...

I agree 100% with you on this. I don't agree with the ideals held by the confederacy but I do believe in what Churchill said, "Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it." (Yes, I know he paraphrased Santayana but I think his version is more relevant to the times.) It happened. Unlike in gaming, we can't wave a magical wand and make it disappear. It needs to stay relevant so we do not make those same mistakes.
That being said, let's keep in mind Deadlands is a game. If you want to follow Shane's lead and let the CSA dissolve, you can. If you don't agree, then keep it. I do disagree with him on one point. "But Deadlands is mine, friends. I get to make those decisions and decide what's in the sandbox." I'm sorry Shane, it's no longer "your's." When you released it, you allowed everyone into your sandbox and now we have the choice to follow along or not. And we will do that with our money.
To you Mark, I understand if you do not want to support PEG. I just want to remind you that Savage Worlds is a great system and PEG has more than Deadlands to offer. Not to mention all the third party support of SW as well which has nothing to do with Shane at all. Don't allow one poor choice to create other poor choices.

Cross Planes said...

You make some excellent points Jeff. After doing some digging, I think PEG is looking for a customer base that will not support them through virtue signaling. I think it's a poor decision and is opening themselves up to more outrages, look at Evil Hat, they are he king of this kind of move and they had to downscale.

I respect PEG's decision but I feel like I have to draw a line in the sand.

Our industry is changing and thankfully, I have enough games that I can ignore it if I have to. But I can't support "cancel culture". I feel like the people who capitulate on this stuff don't recognize that pleasing this base means trying to score in an ever moving endzone. It's a crowd that is competitively trying to be more "woke" and will eat you if you can't keep up.

I will keep in mind the 3rd party publishers though.

Viper said...

mean no offense, but I personally don't see how changing it to the CSA falling (still five years after it did in reality) is forgetting about it. It's not like the man is saying in Deadlands the Civil War never happened. How is making the CSA lose scrubbing history to make it more palatable? Dealdands isn't history. Argue about the plausibility of OG Deadlands usage of the Cleburne plan if one wishes, but within our reality that never passed, and regardless of whether it did or not, slavery was built right said country's constitution. In an era where there are hate groups happily and proudly embracing the symbols and legacy of this mistake of America, having a setting that makes any heroic player character from the South, by default, a member of said nation, even if it's an alternate one that has change, is unsettling in my opinion. No, I don't claim Shane was intending to glorify the "Southern Cause,"when he first made Deadlands, but I also don't think he exactly had the ability to know that over two decades later white nationalists would be running be murdering counter protesters at a Confederate war memorial while said nationalists had chanted "Jews will not replace us," less than 24 hours earlier.

I won't claim there's probably some business motivation in there, frankly, all decisions made related to a commercial product have at least a slight amount, that's simply reality, but I also personally like to think that Shane wanting to change his setting to be something that unintentionally is palatable to very real, very present, hate groups that are one of the main sources of the discord currently embroiling our country is mainly because the man is a decent human being. Furthermore, while there have of course been people who expressed their discomfort or disagreement with the previous portrayal of the CSA in earlier Deadlands, to the best of my knowledge there have never been any "shaming, doxxing, and bullying" in relation to Deadlands prior to this announcement.

In summary, I do not see how changing an alternate history to something actually more in line our reality is erasing history, I do not think this is a case of "virtue signalling" or capitulating, I see it as a case of Shane not wanting to have a setting that asks the player to accept that a nation embroiled in human bondage and suffering have changed their ways and are good guys now, when their name, symbols and causes are being actively used by people visibly committing racially motivated domestic terrorism, in this day and age.

Is doing so somehow compromising his artistic vision simply because he's changed the setting? If that's the absolute then people should have started boycotting PEG the first time they changed a monster's weakness from what it originally was to better fit the story. I personally fail to see how, even if one's particular campaign premise requires an active CSA, which GMs are fully capable of having for their particular game, nobody will stop you, Shane making his own, personal, moral and yes, politically, based decisions with his setting, that as a property he owns,is motivation to stop buying the man's products. His saving the CSA lose the Civil War in 1871 in Deadlands does not mean the Civil War did not happen, The Confederacy,that ugly blemish on American history that we must not forget, still happened.

No, Shane's initial still existent CSA in Deadlands was not intended to harm anybody. But when you, say, accidentally elbow somebody in the ribs while having fun, a good person, in my opinion, says they didn't intend to do so, and then stops doing that. To me, this is just that.

UNgcaBuncka said...

It's Amazing how long Deadlands has been around, but just now he sees the error in his ways, hmmmmmmm me smells bullshit.

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