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does the mod team have a problem with women?

Discussion in 'Fall from Heaven Lore' started by heartofgrigori, Dec 8, 2007.

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  1. heartofgrigori

    heartofgrigori Chieftain

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    First of all I would like to say; i'm not much into fantasy whether it be sci-fi or Tolkienesque crap with golems, elves and whatnot. I would also mention that "traditional fantasy" as Kael stated is really the same kind of dark fantasy as FFH. I've seen more other fantasy media near what FFH is than what Kael think is "tradional fantasy" (the "fairy princess" stuff). Most of this fantasy comes from Tolkien ultimately, and most of our video games and books come from him. So tradional fantasy is exactly what FFH is a part of.
    Like i said earlier, fantasy doesent interest me. Until I bought a PC Gamer magazine only because it had a Civilization IV mod in the demo disc, yeah you know what mod it is. Tell you the truth, I was blown away. I ate up that Civliopedia, reading everything from the stories of the leaders to the Building descriptions. EVERYTHING. I was like: "finally a game with emotion and intelligence". The whole idiological thing with people fighting each other over it. With Good and evil really being alike in their fanaticism. So I respect what people have done in this mod. Although I couldn't help but think they are more into shock value than telling an intelligent story. Seems like the mod team has a little misogynistic leanings. Most of the stories that involve women, tell them either being raped (or alluding to it), or being airheaded and weak, as to stupidly fall under a "charming" sailor. Finally, the one woman who DOES try not to fall under man: is seen as EVIL. Most of the stories involve little girls being burned in a volcano; or being chopped up by an orc, or being raped or kidnapped and murdered.
    So yea I respect the game, but i couldn't help but notice the amount of stuff directed at females. So yeah, the mod team may believe that females are the weaker species, but easy on the misogynistic stuff.
    I've also noticed by reading the forums, that people tend to sell their proposals to the game as being more "realistic". Like someone saying "angels and demons" being used in the same way as paratroopers is "realistic". I never knew anything in the FFH mod is realistic. So I guess it's realistic to think that a city with a planar gate and a bar will spawn happy drunken soldiers with white makeup on. If only that planar gate can be built where i live....
     
  2. EverNoob

    EverNoob Prince

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    Misogynistic is a pretty strong word...it would be nice if you provided some concrete examples of this. Certainly much of the stuff is male-oriented (ie: portrait of Faeryl Viconia). Some of it could be construed as sexist if you stretch it, that is if you consider traditional gender roles and classical female character archetypes as sexist. Sure those concepts are archaic, but they still persist much in today's culture. Though I definitely wouldn't call it misogynistic .
     
  3. Kael

    Kael Deity

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    Its an interesting take on the mod. Personally I feel like we feature a lot of strong female characters. We have a higher percentage of female leaders and characters than Civ4, and I would suspect any other civ4 mod out there.

    As for the stories, there are some deeply horrible things going on in them. This is dark fantasy. We have pages and pages of material so you can find examples of just about anything. Valledia the Even is shown as powerful and effective leader of her people. Capria lead her people out of hell, couldnt imagine a much stronger role than that. Ethne is a retelling of the story of budda, certainily a positive source.

    I'll comment on Os-Gabella's story since you mentioned her. Os-Gabella's story comes from the story of Lilith from ancient Judeo-christian mythology. The story goes that Eve was the 2nd wife god made for adam and the first, lilith, refused to be subordinant to a man. She defied him and has been causing trouble for mankind ever since. I mention it because lilith has actually had a pretty strong pro-femine conotation over the centuries. Many women see her as a very positive influence, especially during in particuarly repressive male dominated socieities.

    The whole history of Lilith goes way way way back, you can see aspects of the story back during the time of gilgamesh, through greco-roman times and all the way up to new age and current wiccan movements.

    We could go through the sources for other characters as well. Feel free to ask if any particuarly stand out to you but I have always attempted to have a variety of women, dangerous, strong, fallen, heroic, just like the men.

    I made Elizabeth in the Cassiel story a girl because it gave the story a lot more emotional resonence to me. I dont think it makes it misogynistic. I would hope that none of the stories of any of the horrible things that happen (to male or female characters) give any impression that those actions are idealized or glorified in any way.

    Likewise Lita being raped in Mardero's story was because of the history of where the story came from. It was from the D&D game and I needed a brood of half-demon/half-human children because of what was happening in thar world (demons were blocked to one part of the world and the living to another, these half demons were the first that could cross between). It was important to me that the creation of these demon children be part of the failing of the society, and that Lita was given the option to chose good or evil and suffered for her choice (in the story as she was falling she had the opportunity to hate or forgive the people, she choose and if she hadn't Id like to think that the demon wouldn't have gotten her). I say that just because usually there are reasons for the stories that don't have anything to do with making it pro or anti women.

    Interestignly, one thing that isn't in any ffH story is an example of a good marriage. All the characters portrayed so far are either single, or have had something tragic happen with their spouses. Einion's wife was killed, Eve and Talia had affairs, most never mention their wife. Im not sure what that says about me (except that most of the backstory was written before I was married). But I always thought that was interesting. BtW I did have married couples in the D&D games, its just that none of their stories have made it into FfH yet.

    ps. I have no problem with anyone pointing this out. I think its a very interesting conversation and I don't take any offense from it (and the origional poster did a great job of taking care to not be acursatory about it so I know he didnt mean it to be offensive).

    pss. You mention shock value as compared to telling an intellegent story. I dont know. I know we are limited to a few paragraphs so I feel like are stories as intellegent as that format allows (micro-stories), and we try to be origional for our genre.
     
  4. vorshlumpf

    vorshlumpf Emperor

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    It is a huge pet-peeve of mine when people take this stance. Fantasy, for me anyway, has to be plausible. Of course it is fantasy - has magic and demons and all that - but if it is ridiculous, then I can't immerse myself in it. Hense, 'realism' or 'plausibility'.

    Of course, 'realism' is subjective, so everyone will have their different flavours.
     
  5. Nikis-Knight

    Nikis-Knight Deity

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    I think you are really reading too much into this. Of course I would think so unless an admitted misogynist, so I wil give specific examples of woman in FfH fiction, with some explanation.

    1) You allude to Rhoanna. Her story portrays a young woman in a difficult situation (leading a tribe) showing creativity and strength of will, in the first half of the story. Then she meets a chrarming sailor. She enjoys his company, but no where in there is it meant to imply that they developed further romantic or sexual relations beyond that. Their were two points here, to show that falamar is charming, which is his defining trait. It is hard to show him to be charming if the other character reacts to him as a bufoon, no? But second, to show a capable woman able to take control of her own emotions when need be, admirable trait in a man or woman. Further, I don't think having romantic or even sexual urges, whether male or female, is necessarily a weakness--if controlled.

    2) Flauros. Vampires are not nice people. We know that. Saying, "Flauros, immortal leader of the Calabim, killed many people" has very little rhetorical power. So in his story, another character was created. Taerry is a peasant in a land where humans are treated as cattle. She has no power in this situation, this is true, but human men, you can assume, are in similar situations. Having a female abused is meant to arouse a more visceral distaste of the leader in question, especially since, hopefully, our majority male audience would be particulary upset by the inversion of chivalry displayed. One more word about this scene--it is indeed a story of rape and murder, but there are little if any details of that, just her reactions, and I think it would be possible to read it and not know what was going on, if you were young enough. So, yes, this is a weak and helpless young woman; the point of the piece was to show Flauros as strong and vile. This is certainly a piece that you may think is just for shock, but again, it's not graphic, but is intended to be show a genuinely evil leader, not morally ambiguous.

    3)Keelyn, is maybe who you mean as airhead and weak? Another abused young girl, this one by neglect. Perpentach, her father, is an insane and evil man. The civ is designed around insanity. So no leader here is going to be one to hold a philosophical discourse, by definition. The inspiration for Keelyn was of a woman holding court entirely with illusionary creatures under her control, the back story a way to explain why how a human could get to such a haunted point. Doesn't really show her in a positive light, but she is at least as in control of herself as the other leader of this civ, and has a strong will. In the end I don't think she comes off much worse than Perpentach or many of the evil male leaders; if anything, her evil disposition is at least somewhat explained.

    4)Hannah--Hannah is a strong woman, harsh and perhaps not fully in control of her temper, but able to command respect of a nation of wild pirates. Some of the few real life woman pirates come to mind.

    5)The girl thrown into a volcanoe; maybe you mean in Jonas Endain's story? Well, it was an overthrow of a rule by priestesses. Yeah, that scene is harsh, maybe one of the worst in FfH. I suppose it could have worked as a young boy orc, but Jonas had already been presented as carrying the head of a young girl, and this was the explanation for it. Besides, the Clan served a goddess, so it makes sense that she had a matriarchy at that time. And the evil rebel against it would attack that matriarchy. Orcs, our barbarians, don't have too high value on life--just see thier suicide tactics in game! (Also, I just remembered that at the same time several men were also burned alive, so they are equal oppurtunity murderers.)

    6) Thessa's story is a tragedy, but characters experiencing tragedy can be shown to be admirable characters nonetheless. Is Thessa one? In many ways, her commitment to duty, her love, her unrivaled intelligence. In the end of her story she chooses duty over love. In Erebus, perfect solutions aren't always found, but a strong case could be made that her solution was the most moral, and most difficult, yet she took it, and bore the consequences.

    7) Capria. Coming of age in Hell can't be easy, can it? But I don't think you can find Capria as anything other than strong, competent, and wise. In fact, I don't think you'll find a male character portrayed as stong and good as her, betrying my fascination with the Bannor, I'm afraid.

    8) Sheelba. By now, young woman who thrives in adversity is becoming almost tired (though I hope each interesting on their own rights.). Sheelba is probably the most sympathetic evil leader. Her story plays out in her and the hero Rantine's entries. At the time she is vulnerable, having been spurned by her father and reacting in a torrent of emotion. (This is due to being a woman as much as it is young and an orc--a civ symbolized by fire.) So for a time she relys on Rantine to bring her home. But once there she doesn't let the huge orc leader intimidate her, nor her people's savagry entirely corrupt her. She is the one who brings civilization to the wild orcs, or some measure of it at least.

    9) Os-Gabella is based on a real world myth of Lilith, Adam's apocryphal first wife. Much suffering comes from this ancient woman, but she does follow a fantasy archetype appropriate for an evil leader, and besides, I'd say Tebryn, her male counterpart, comes off even worse--trying to trade the entire world in to redeem his own soul.

    10) Valledia--Ah, she's a cold one. After reading her's and Einon's story, I was rather incensed at her. But she is anything but weak, a manipulator who would like to see her people left alone to their studies, but forced to play politics will do so with all ruthlessness required to survive. For man or woman, that is often quite a bit.

    11) Arendal and Faeryl, the good and evil elven queens, are again capable leaders. Of course, shouldn't any leader the player chooses be so? But there are a high number of female leaders, compared to vanilla civ, or, well, history. These two aren't show in action, but in contrasted with each other; still they are foil enough for each other, and no man is involved in either, nor is any terrible stuff directed at either. :)

    12) Ethne the White, the Elohim leader, is shown to be a caring and determined student of statecraft.

    There aren't many female heroes, largely because they need a differnt model than males, and the assassin doesn't even have animations, so they are more work.
    13) Losha Valas. Another vampire. Evil, but calm and clever.

    14) Typhoid Mary... yeah, sucks to be her...

    I think on balance, the female leaders are show to be no more lacking in morals or capacity than their male counterparts, who also run the gammut from jerks to heroes, with more of the former.
    ----
    Also, regarding realism in fantasy fiction (as opposed to gameplay). When creating a fantasy world, you can have magic do anything you want. BUT you have to set the rules early and stick to them. It is cheating readers to have the wizard pull off a spell that doesn't work according to the previous descriptions, and say, well it's fantasy!
    Realism in fantasy fiction is code for: Do characters behave in believable ways? or Is the magic internally consistent.
     
  6. sylvanllewelyn

    sylvanllewelyn Perma-newb

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    No time to come up with a formal response, just some quick thoughts:

    - Another approach to this issue is to think about the possible reasons, or circumstances, that will lead to a world where women are relegated to a lower status, whether they are morally good reasons or simply natural reasons. My opinion is that in order combine the extreme fantasy of Erebus with highly realistic ways of responding to such external circumstances, an inevitable, statistically likely (I wouldn't go so far as to say logically) consequence is for many of the natural responses to, one way or the other, lead to relegating women to a lower status. Mostly because of war and the subjugation of conquered peoples, mostly women and children. In the old times, wifes captured from the enemy tribes are usually not very highly regarded.
    - Even in a world where women have equal or higher status than men, physical, mental and emotional differences between the genders would still mean that measures such as rape or forced marriage are extremely effective in breaking a woman, while other forms of brutality are used against men instead.
    - In our own world, it was circumstances that lead the primitive tribes to develop into nations, and relegate women to a lower status, respectively. It is also circumstances that is leading to women having increasing status today than before, even though the two are still far from equal on average. The analogy would be press control during war, and free speech during peace. One is for the war effort, the other for economic power.

    As for pictures of women wearing very little... yeah, I am very, very much against it. Please have women that are covered; in fact, very conservatively covered. For many reasons, it just adds a lot more realism and power to the whole fantasy world.

    This, and I would like to give an example: some time back, Canada issued an advice to travellers advising that women travelling to China for tourism should be dressed a little more conservatively, because scantily dressed women may be mistaken to be "more open to invitations", and because it's a less safe country. The Chinese government responded by accusing the Canadian government of holding the archaic belief that it's the woman's fault for attracting male attention to violent crimes, and that "dressing more conservatively" would actually help at all. I don't even know what's right anymore...
     
  7. Kael

    Kael Deity

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    As for realism, games are abstractions. We use dragons, and moen and cities and mountains as symbols for the game play that is really going on (making strategic decisions about resource allocation). Realism to me means that those symbols behave in a way that the player expects, thats the point of using symbols.

    For example we need a map symbol that blocks off tiles or areas. We use a mountain for that. The player sees the mountain, immediatly knows what it is, and understands that his units cant move through it. The symbol makes the game rules easier to understand. If something isnt realistic then players are confused about how it works, if it is realistic the game seems more intuitive.

    But fun time realism every time. Im also not a fan of introducing new mechanics just for realisms sake (remember the point of realism is to make the game easier to understand, adding complexity doesnt do that).
     
  8. Kael

    Kael Deity

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    I forgot about Thessa's story, another case of a bad marriage.

    Makes me wonder if it is a poor depiction of women to have her kill her husband? Or if we would have reversed the roles and had the husband kill his new bride would that have been more anti-women? At some level I think that just being in a FfH story means bad things. Maybe we are anti-people? ;)

    I also wanted to comment on the origional posters dark fanatsy definition. I consider FfH dark fantasy because we don't have good guys, everyone is flawed. The "princess rule" is a thematic choice to go along with that but not the defining characteristic. Dark fantasy as a genre doesn't have a set definition, usually it carries some horror characteristics and blurs the lines between good and evil (typically sympatedic monsters, ie: the vampires in Anne Rice's novels) which I feel like we do.

    I dont consider Tolkien to be dark fantasy (through Jackson put a pretty heavy dark cast on it) as it has more dicotomy and heroic archetypes than I prefer (Im actually not a fan of Tolkien, though I admire and appreciate what he did and I know the fantasy world would be where it is without him). Likewise Warcraft, Heroes of Might and Magic, Age of Wonders, anything with the general these are the pure holy good guys and these are vile mean evil guys I think of as typical fantasy genre stuff and not dark fantasy. But thats just my personal opinion, and I dont have anything to back that up one way or the other.
     
  9. Rod

    Rod King

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    Absolutely Correct!

    High Fantasy as introduced by Tolkien is basically a retold and fine tuned copy of legendary tales of Humankind. It is a characteristic of human legends to have only either good or evil characters. The reason for this is simply that the story has to appeal to a very wide audience with very different levels of education. Therefore simplicity became a necessity.

    Apart from this there is the fact that the early original forms of these legends do not exists anymore. The original form got altered and extinguished simply because the legends were only told (but not written down). Naturally a narrator will remember his own characters better, when they follow certain simple archetypes.

    Maybe the original Beowulf had a very strong dark shade over him, but the current mythical Beowulf is quite pure / became quite pure (I chose the example of Beowulf because it was one of the most inspiring stories for Tolkien and I talk about the Legend of Beowulf not about a certain movie with the same name). In general High Fantasy a'la Tolkien is funding itself out of the heritage of Nordic Mythology. Only much later companies like TSR started to plunder African, Mesoamerican, Ancient Mediterranean and Asian Legends as well to enrich their fantasy products. Besides Jackson (the editor of Lord of the Rings) made indeed very dark movies. These movies are a clear product of our current time. Tolkien wrote down a much more brighter story.

    But back on topic :
    The story element of shaded heroes with different layers and differing emotions was basically only evolving post Mid-Age when advanced technology for archiving, reproduction and distribution of stories became slowly available for the majority of humankind.

    In anyway Kael has every right to brand FfH as dark fantasy. Like he pointed out the characters in FfH are way more facetious than your average 'Slayer of Evil, Protector of Meek' - Hero.

    The only criticism that I could (ever) put on Kael's Story is that he draw his inspiration almost exclusively from the Christian Heritage. But that is his own preference and frankly speaking ... FfH had really brushed up my own knowledge on these Christian Legends .. maybe this more widespread in US, but actually in Europe we do not have very much knowledge anymore about these stories.

    Regarding Gender Political Correctness in FfH.... has anybody lately read original human legends, be it Greek or Nordic or Hindu or whatever ? In comparison with these stories FfH is set in an almost modern world. The women in FfH are way too overpowered and free minded for a Fantasy Setting that is supposedly spanning the Ancient Age and the Mid Age of our planet.
    A simply example : Women in the Mahabharata (one the most important Hindu-Tale Collection) are regularly getting abducted, traded around, force married, raped and banned to live only in the house or the forest.
    Not to mention that they always have to share their husband with at least one other woman. (Lord Krishna brings with him one NEW wife from EVERY adventure (and even more when they are sisters) .He gets them as a kind of .. present ...)
    Not to mention that women regularly get punished by the Gods themselves if they EVER dare to think, act or even care for themselves.
    But now comes the best thing ... they like that way ! They feel morally right if they obey these rules. They feel flattered when Krishna chooses them to be his XXth wife .. so much for Gender PC :)

    Has anybody heard some stories from the war torn lands of Africa lately ? Then you know how women are treated if the world of FfH would be a real world.

    (So FfH is actually a idealistic place, but frankly I like it better that way :) )
     
  10. xienwolf

    xienwolf Deity

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    I feel misogony has been addressed, so won't touch that.

    "Traditional Fantasy" is Good Guys Vs. Bad Guys, with the capital letters there for a reason. It is also generally self-serving, escapism, or meant to convey a moral/lesson. This most certainly does not fit in with that. Another branch of "Traditional Fantasy" is just flat out children's stories. There is no intended consistency, and whatever comes to mind, comes to fruition.

    As for "Realism" when you are talking about magic and fantasy: It means Believable, and self consistent. It is what you look for in a movie, TV Show, Book... everything around you really. Do you think people fall madly in love in the span of a week? No, but the movie needs to rush things to fit it all in 2 hours. Do you think that someone can "use the force" to choke someone across the room? Well, I guess I can buy that if they were able to use it to pick up their light saber from the same distance...

    Rules are needed, consistency is required. And if we know how something SHOULD work, then it ought to work as close to that as possible, or we quit believing in it. And sometimes, the word "realistic" is just what people know. We are dealing with all ages, and all educational levels. We do not expect people to know the difference between: realistic, mechanistic, probable, feasible or any other variations on the same connotation. Plus, we aren't always talking the "earthen reality."

    And finally, as for "Tolkein-esque crap," go spend a couple hours with an English Professor (full Ph. D preferably). They can fill you in on every potential source that Tolkein drew from, and go on for weeks about how his stories parallel the World Wars. They can also point out that his work is COMPLETELY unoriginal.

    What it all boils down to is that people tell stories which are remakes of stories they have heard, seen, or been in. We all do it, and we do it at various levels of competency. I could probably draw parallels between the last excuse you gave someone for being late and Tolkein's works, or the Bible, or the Dead Sea Scrolls... You know why? Because there is a large body of work there, and thus it can be connected to ANYTHING if you put your mind to it. That is kinda the point of our minds, making connections (well, actually my take is that the point of most of humanity is breaking things apart, but that is a philosophical distinction which would take years to debate fully if someone disagrees).
     
  11. 3141592

    3141592 Warlord

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    I just wanted to put in my two cents about what "realistic" means in a fantasy setting.

    For a story to be realistic it does not need to be true to the earth or the universe as we know it. However, for a story to be realistic the individual components of the fantasy universe must to true to their universe and the people must act like people.

    For instance, Kael talked about how the story of Mardero came about. Since the fantasy universe he was creating in D&D did not allow daemons and people to cross over a given point he created a logical way that some beings could. Kael could have done many other things as well, I'm guessing, but any option he chose would have to leave the rest of the world intact, or be acted to accordingly. The trick with any large story is to make sure it doesn't contradict itself. For how convoluted FFH is, it is amazing how well everything lines up.

    People, however, are the big thing that makes any story "realistic". People in any story must be made of the same metal as people are in real life. They must be able to be transplanted to any situation and have their action be constant to their character. In any good fantasy you should be able to look around you and find parallels of the people in the story to people in the modern day. Heroes are sort of an exception to that, as they do not act like normal people. However, for any given hero to work, they must think logically and their actions must be justified. Basium, for instance, is nuts about killing daemons at any costs to the point of insanity. Yet throughout history it is possible to find people who come close to that obsessiveness and as long as all of Basium's actions are constant with his obsession he works as a character.
     
  12. heartofgrigori

    heartofgrigori Chieftain

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  13. heartofgrigori

    heartofgrigori Chieftain

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    sorry about that quote mess
     
  14. Nikis-Knight

    Nikis-Knight Deity

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    You're just misssing one of these at the end of the quoted part:
    [
     
  15. Silverkiss

    Silverkiss NekoChan

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    Actually, it's a "[/".
     
  16. BeefontheBone

    BeefontheBone Windbag of the sea

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    And one of these / :p
     
  17. hexagonian

    hexagonian of the realm of Hexagonia

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    Small point of clarification...if you read the backhistory of Middle-earth (re:Silmarillion) you will find a lot of dark fantasy elements, especially in regards to the Elves and the house of Feanor.
     
  18. MagisterCultuum

    MagisterCultuum Great Sage

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    I agree. The history of the Grey Elves and of the Edain is pretty dark there too. The Vala aren't perfect either. I'd say the min reason Tolkien isn't dark fantasy is because of the naivety of the Hobbit perspective.
     
  19. White Elk

    White Elk 99 > 1

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    Its strange to see this thread title in the forum. I hate to bump it up and help it to remain on the first page. But I want to add my voice to the choir for the sake of those who come here to learn about the mod and haven't yet experienced it for themselves. I see Nothing in the mod which even comes close to suggesting that the team has "a problem with women". The OP goes further and says they have "misogynistic leanings" ie: hatred of women. That is absolutely Absurd! And for some reason I find it to be offensive.

    And I completely disagree that the mods writers are "more into shock value than telling an intelligent story." On the contrary I think the story behind FfH has been created quite intelligently! They have created a deep and interesting world which is realistic within the confines of a suspension of disbelief.
     
  20. seZereth

    seZereth FfH´s art monk(ey)

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    I for my part love women ;)
     
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