Political correctness vs fun / emersion

This will not be a popular topic…

Look at the current load screen sketches. Look at the genders and races and the roles of the citizens. Whether the artist / designers meant it or not, a subconscious bias crept in that reflects how we all view the real world and even our fantasy genres. This is healthy thing by the way! (see dwarf and elves).

I currently see two factions in this game and I play and enjoy them both. In every play through I spend way too much time reloading and on the game creation screens re-rolling. Yes, have you worked out where I’m going yet? We’re not talking re-rolls to get good attributes if it’s not sunk in yet.

Again, whether it was meant to or not, the designers have turned to the classic themes and factions we see in all the genres. Knight and castles! Medieval European pioneers! Mysterious ingenious nomads that are hardy enough to survive and tame the wastelands.

I wouldn’t judge the Devs for revisiting those character creation percentages and making the more exotic people to each respective civilization appear a lot less.

I stand by my opening point about the load screen artwork for those who made it this far…

I don’t understand. You want more diversity like equal amounts of each skin color, or you want to have more specialized skin for each kingdom (asc having more whites and rayya more dark skins)?

Because right now the chances are different for each faction. Ascendancy has more whites and brown skins, while Rayya has less white and more brown and black.

And that was a nice touch.


Appreciate the measured response on a tricky subject.

Every game I’ve had so far has had no noticeable trend between skin and faction, which I agree adds depth and richness to this imaginary world.

I assumed it was an equal % across the board which made everyone the same and no one unique. However I’m please to hear it’s possible that this has been considered and factored in.

2016 has been on of those years…

Actually, even though the chances are higher for one skin tone over the other in each kingdom, the difference chances for each is not very drastic.

Rayya have 66% chances to spawn brown skin and 33% chance of black (dark brown) skin.
Ascendancy have 50% chance of white skin, 25% brown, and 25% black.

North Alliance (yet to be released) have 50% white and 50% brown (if they keep the current rate in the code)


I wonder what would happen if you weren’t pleased…
Can we please let the game be a game, instead of some non issue that you falsely thought the game represented…

Stonehearth Is very divers,. The game, The dev’s and the community.


I don`t care about the color or gender of the hearthlings living in my egyptian colony. All will serve the mighty Pharaoh!

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"I wonder what would happen if you weren’t pleased… "

That’s a good question. I’ll try my best to answer it: What happens when I’m not pleased is I reload the game until I get a settler I think is more suited to the faction I play. I’ll also do this if I think I have too much of one particular sex. I’ve not been pleased having to reload the game over and over so the next thing I did was post my thoughts on here. I’m really pleased I’ve had a few responses with lots to make me think about as I didn’t expect anyone would engage me on this subject as it invites extreme views on both sides of the fence and has potential to go off-road. I guess the next thing I would do is simply accept the intended flavor of the game. I think it’s very good and I don’t think this aesthetic / lore / faction issue is enough to stop me being hooked!

I agree with your last comment. Stonehearth is very diverse indeed! Maybe too much! I’ve no idea about the Devs. I imagine they are mostly blokes and trying to do the right thing. I also agree this community is diverse and everyone will want different things. Seems odd to connect all three in one sweeping statement though!

I’m sorry overall you seem to think this is a non issue and I appreciate you taking the time to share your views.

About the looks of your hearthlings, you will love this mod:


Hey that looks great! Nice to know there’s something out there for everyone. Gonna try that right away. Thank you :grinning:

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Thing is that the genders have entirely equal stats, so a town of all men or women (because yes, I’m going to assume that our hearthlings don’t have any of the other varied real genders… maybe they do and they don’t say anything about it, but really my point is that it does not matter at all in gameplay terms) plays exactly like a town with a 50/50 mix.

The Stonehearth team is definitely a diverse bunch, in fact I believe that their members represent every populous continent. So if their game development values are influenced in any way by their cultural experiences, it’s probably going to lean towards “who honestly cares? It clearly makes no difference for us!”

As for the hearthlings’ apparent heritages, it’s nice to see that there’s a nod towards the geographic distribution of skin tones… but beyond that, again it makes no difference. We might have certain stereotpyes about what kind of people should occupy a medieval castle or a desert market, but the skins are purely aesthetic.

Actually, I ran into a situation I personally found humorous while playing as the Ascendancy (and do read to the end, because the funny bit is the hearthlings’ reaction I imagined rather than the situation itself…) I had a pretty stable town with two farmers, both males sharing a last name and both with the darkest skin in the vanilla game; so I wove into the story that they were brothers from a far-off land. When I noticed that my weaver (a grey-haired older woman) was idle 90% of the time, I realised I needed fiber and that there was no silkweed nearby. I tend to think of the silkweed as “cotton” (because it’s an obvious comparison that helped me to remember what all the plants do), and I realised that I was effectively ordering my black farmers to grow cotton… immediately I thought they might have something to say about how insensitive that would be. And immediately after that, I imagined my town’s Weaver explaining to the rest of the hearthlings how, even though they had no qualms about race, in some “far off lands” that would be a painful reminder of the past, and that’s why she was asking the shepard to look for sheep rather than just getting the farmers to grow silkweed… the thought of my town’s kindly old granny having to sit down and explain the lingering effects racism to a very diverse group of hearthlings while they sat around with puzzled looks was what left me chuckling


Great post. Thanks for making it. You are right, it would seem the genders and skin tones have the same stats. This is a good concept that I think we (the gaming generations) are used to and is prevalent in most RPGs.

You make another good point about how the devs might feel. I hope you are correct. My original worry was that they were being too politically correct and they just made all hearthlings generate randomly. However it’s now clear to me from this discussion that there is indeed a nod towards skin tone and culture and I’m really happy to stand corrected.

I really appreciate you agreeing that there are stereotypical views about how a medieval castle or desert market should look. If no one had acknowledge this it would have made me very isolated in this discussion and I wouldn’t have benefited from it as much as I have.

I enjoyed your take on the Ascendancy playthrough you had. It had a healthy bit of humor in there and a good message.

Now I’m off to play this fantastic game.

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I personally want to see more barbarian rabbit warriors during the loading screens. As for the actual hearthlings, I’m happy with the diverse appearances randomly generated by both factions and greatly appreciate the devs’ attention to that diversity. No complaints whatsoever.

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So, while I think it is only reasonable and nice that Stonehearth has different cultures with different looking people, I really don’t share your issues.

I only generate people to get good stats and I absolutely don’t choose jobs and stuff by gender. I see that my Rayya’s children are black/brown as they should be, living in the desert and my Ascendary are white. If there are a few odd ones mixed in or if it is all men/women in my town, I couldn’t care less… maybe you shouldn’t either.


The joke about the barbarian rabbit is good dig but I suspect you know I’m talking about the Rayya on the title screen, the warrior in a suit of armor, the geomancer, the mamga smith etc. Boys with swords, girl does magic etc. I don’t think it was intentional by the devs but I thought it helped prove an unconscious bias I believe exists in most people when they look at the fantasy world.

I think it’s great you are happy with randomly generated appearances. I wish I could be on that side of the argument, it looks very virtuous and easy to defend. It’s a shame you won’t consider any other view to be acceptable but I really appreciate you taking the time out to join in. Cheers.

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Cheers for the post. I didn’t expect many people to share my issue and I agree it’s reasonable for some diversity. On the flip side I would not enjoy the game if a particular faction only looked one way. As I said at the start I was under the false impression all hearthlings were generated randomly with no %. Apparently this is not the case but I still think most looks are too common across the board to make any one look exotic and rare to either faction.

You make a good point about jobs and I do the same. I also assign the best person for the job. I’m not being virtuous on that front it just makes gameplay sense.

I was disappointed at your suggestion that I shouldn’t care less either - that I should just feel how you feel about it, which flies in the face of the very diversity you are promoting.

Ah, but I’m not promoting diversity. I’m promoting less focus on irrelevant things like colour and gender. It seems like this is such a big issue to you and I think you should maybe stop looking for these things so hard. As I said, I agree that it is good to have dark people in the desert and white in the woods. It’s just the way it is in reality, so I’m fine with it. On the other hand, all people arrive as travellers and they aren’t born in the city, so why should they not be diverse.

I think the point I’m making is that I really don’t see the point you are making. What’s so important about the gender roles? Of course people think about a man when they think about a knight, traditionally, knights are men and men are physically stronger in general. However, do we really need that in the game? For the sake of freedom of choice, shouldn’t I be allowed to have a female soldier?

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I wouldn’t say it’s a big issue for me and I am happy to concede ground. I feel obliged to answer people who have taken the time out to talk to me about it so it sure does look like I’m banging on a drum a bit.

It’s not a problem for me to play the game other than having to reload if I feel the look of my play-through is starting to deviate from the faction I am currently playing.

You say these things are irrelevant and this is a very moral stance to have that I find difficult to oppose without looking like a bad person. I wonder why the game bothers to change the look of hearthlings when you click the re-roll button at the start however. I appreciate its primary use will be for stats but if you are saying looks are irrelevant why do they cycle appearance as well? I am saying this not as a slight at the Devs or to suggest anything bad here, I am just trying to challenge this argument. In fact I’m starting to feel really guilty about mentioning the devs and the artwork at all when they have provided us all with such an a wonderful game. I guess I do so as I as I needed some moral leverage from such an unpopular side of the argument.

You make a really good point about people arriving as travelers. There is nothing stopping them looking different from those already in the city. This is a good touch and I’d hate to see it changed and forced on other players. Now that I think about it, that re-roll button would be great to have on the daily report popup, although I imagine it would be exploited to generate desirable stats for a job you are looking to fill.

I agree with the gender roles. Pretty much all RPGs and AD&D have gender as purely aesthetics and this is commonly accepted among the gaming generations. You should have the freedom to have a female soldier. My only gripe is when I already have a soldier who does not conform to the traditional knight look that we seem to agree on and I end up reloading the game.

I want to be honest here: 2016 was one of the worst years when it comes to pilitical correctness. I live in germany and there are tons of social justice warriors and gender studies students who blame “white cis males” for all the problems in this world, especially those against minorities. If you say anything against them, you get called a fashist or a nazi, making every logical rational argument/discussion impossible. And lets not forget trump vs. hillary, which kinda was political incorrectness vs. political correctness. Trump kinda won that thing because many people have enough of political correctness.

That being said: Please dont bring this topic into games. It’s a fantasy game and people want to spent some nice time with it, without all those issues like politics and other stuff from the real world. So I suggest you go for a mod that does what you need (I guess it was already posted) and all the others can stay happy. It’s not meant offensive, but that’s just how I feel about this kinda annoying topic.


Thanks AaronD. I can understand if you would prefer this topic not being brought into the game. However you just connected a lot of dots there that didn’t need to be. I don’t want to compare real world politics with this game either,. This is one forum post among many others and you don’t have to engage in it if you don’t want to.

I stand by my statement that the factions currently don’t have a big enough distinction between them, and I feel some richness is lost there and no mater how I play I get a mishmash of randomness. It’s as simple as that.

I take some comfort in the fact that while this may bug me a little it’s not bothering anyone else, even if the topic itself annoys you.

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All factions, the Ascendancy, Rayya’s Children and the Northern Alliance, descend from one common ancestor faction. The specialisation, so to say, happened some time ago (I would expect it to be in the hundreds of years, maybe a few thousands). So of course they’re not that different from each other; they have a common origin. We’re not talking about an Alien Nations scenario here, where you have Pimmons (frog people), Amazons and Sajikis (bugs) living on one planet somewhat peacefully due to an stork DUI accident.

So to expect any sort of major distinction within that small timespan is somewhat misled. I also don’t see any “political correctness” in this issue, but rather a diversification to freshen up the game. It’s visually more appealing to have individual hearthlings - skin color and gender are two relatively cheap to implement, but very effective ways of making units visually different.

It’s also no secret that SH uses a lot of RNG decisions. This starts with the gender of hearthlings, over their name, to what they look like (which includes body, hair, hair extensions, …), goes over the whole world and then every single encounter or animation that plays. They’re all separate, independent events that are not connected to each other. Only at the embarking, the stats can be somewhat dependent on each other to create a balanced town and avoid having a party full of “weak” or “strong” units.

There’s no ancestry or history like you would expect in Dwarf Fortress. The world you play in doesn’t have a history that you can uncover, neither do the units you start with. They’re all blank slates and it’s up to you what you do about it. For all that it matters, the game concerns them all as individuals without any connection to each other - at least, currently.

It’s powered by randomness in its vanilla state. If you are unhappy with that, you will have to find a mod that is removing some of that randomness with a more sophisticated, or even fixed/user customisable system. But that’s a can of worms because there are so many things that depend on randomness. If you start a new world, save it, and then play that save twice, chances are that it would differ the longer you play (although, I assume that if you played it exactly the same, then the game would be the same - as the PRNG returns the same numbers).