There were also demons, devils, and demigods you could fight and - arguably - slay since you knew their AC and hit points. Times change, don't they?
|Mix it up, Erol Otus.|
In those heady early days D&D was a tiny little weirdo game that almost nobody knew anything about. It seems like even the people who knew about it and played it didn't know much about it since the rules were cryptic as fuck. In those days, flying way under the radar, it's easy to see how you could get away with having a harlot table in your core rulebook or writing an article about orgies.
(Not only cool shit like an orgy article, but also pretty bad shit like the way they tried to make ability scores align with real-world assumptions about men and women... as if playing an elf game had to be physiologically "realistic". Thanks Lakofka. I'm glad the idea didn't take much root and I'm happy D&D today is explicitly inclusive.)
Fast forward a decade. Hoo-boy, how the times changed. I was a teen in those days. I remember quite well the motherfucking PMRC. I was one of those rural white boys headbanging to Grim Reaper and W.A.S.P. and Ozzy as they lashed out against the prudes and crispies and censors in their music.
(On that note, check out the Filthy Fifteen playlist and rock out.)
(Also, it is not lost on me that the response from the rock and metal community wasn't just about taking a stand. In those days, making an angry song against Tipper Gore was a sure fire way to sell a lot of records. Also, fuck Tipper Gore.)
No more demons. No more devils. No more gods with ACs and hit points (at least I'm fairly sure about that one... am I wrong about that? Huh). Definitely hells to the no on titties, booty, and orgies. There is no harlot table in the 2e DMG. No ice devils or beelzebubs. No naked succubi.
Likewise, by this time there was no more getting the chocolate of "straight" fantasy into the peanut butter of science fiction. You would no longer find androids in the monster lists. The high fantasy genre had gelled into a money-making monster as the new game in town were trilogies of fantasy adventure novels and trilogies of trilogies of fantasy adventure novels in which not a laser pistol nor a robot was to be found.
It all felt so god damned vanilla.
And hey... let me be absolutely clear about something. I would not want a harlot table in my new DMG, unless it was utterly gender neutral or wildly gender diverse. Men are harlots too, you dopes. So this is not some cro-magnon argument for returning to the "good old days" when "men were men". Fuck that noise in the ear.
All I'm ranting about is how the influx of attention and money tends to skew the deliciousness and quirkyness of content toward the mean. The middle. The boring-as-fuck.
I'm guilty too. I have, on numerous occasions, mitigated, rounded, smoothed, watered-down, and toned-down my own shit before putting it out in public. This is largely because I want to be liked by as many people as possible. I don't publish stuff simply because I want to have stuff published. I want people to like what I do. I want everyone to like what I do. And that, my friends, is a problem. You cannot please everyone and trying to do so leads to the great big boring land of Milkquetoastington.
|"You mind? Peeing here."|
I don't make resolutions or promises. I know myself and I know I'm prone to going down different paths on a whim. I allow myself to wander. I try to steer myself, I try to work at what I'm doing and have pride in it. But I don't make resolutions. So this is not a resolution to be less filtered in 2020. It is, however, a public acknowledgement that I have filtered myself in the past and since I didn't like my games or music being filtered I should probably not worry so god damned much about how many people like me. Without being a dickhead, I just want to be me. I'm too damn old to be anything else.