Evil Hat Productions, the makers of PnP RPG Fate, Atomic Robo, and Dresden Files, just finished Fate of Cthulhu. They had some thoughts about Lovecraft’s racist writings, and decided to address that elephant in the room right in the game.
The replies are… Well, about what you’d expect. So Evil Hat let them know their publishing stance.
These “fans” are going to have a hard time with the Lovecraft Country show.
That’s interesting, I didn’t even think it was in dispute in any way at all that Lovecraft was racist. I thought the argument these days was whether there was anything worth salvaging from his writing despite the fact that he’s racist. For what it’s worth I believe there is, being a lifelong fan of his writing, but I could see someone feeling otherwise.
Evil Hat are such a great company. Their recent Accessibility Toolkit is an incredible resource for thoughtfully approaching those issues in game and accommodating gamers with accessibility needs. And Fate is obviously my favorite TTRPG system of all time by a country mile
I am pretty tone deaf to these kinds of things, but Lovecraft isn’t subtle about it. I haven’t read the tweets or whatever above but I have to agree with everyone else, I don’t see any wiggle room for discussion. Dude was racist.
Yeah. Tolkien writes largely unrepresentative fiction. If you’re a white dude, congrats, 99% of the speaking lines in the series are gonna come from folks who look like you (plus or minus a foot of height and/or some pointy ears)! Which isn’t maximally optimal, but the world does have room in it for fiction about white dudes. Just, you know, it’s a button we’ve been hitting in western civ for basically the entire history of our writing. Oops. We’re getting better!
Lovecraft isn’t bad cuz he forgot to include other groups. He instead goes out of his way to remind us that they’re the other, lesser, impure, etc. It’s a conscious effort of tearing down versus incremental marginalization via unthoughtful omission.
There is pretty much zero chance I’ll ever get to play this game but I’m thinking about buying it just to support this kind of attitude.
I think most of the collections of Lovecraft work I picked up back in the early 90s had intros talking about how racist he was, so it really shouldn’t be a surprise now. I think a lot of them undersold it a bit but it was at least acknowledged.
So, I had to go ahead and order this. Not only to support them, but it actually sounds like a fun sourcebook to read, and maybe, just maybe, I can get a small game together in the near future online as well.