The new and improved defender of RPGs!

Friday 4 July 2014

If You're Going to Hate Me, At Least Do It For Stuff I Actually Believe

Well, I can't say I didn't expect it.  The Swine are up in arms, the big (I should say HUGE) initial success and popularity of the new D&D release has them furious, and especially furious at the fact that people they hate, namely yours truly and Zak S., were credited as Consultants (some of them acting as though it was a huge surprise, as if it hadn't been something I'd been open about all along, and as if they hadn't all previously expressed outrage back when it was announced two years ago).

For the most part, my attitude toward them is this:

What I think is especially funny is when people who despise D&D and would never have bought it anyways in a million years say "because this guy was working on it, that's why I would never buy it!" as if otherwise they'd have stacked their shelves full of WoTC products.  They really think they're fooling someone.

And some of the comments are just hilarious;  one person suggested that the best way to counteract the effect of our evil would be to give to some kind of charity.  I would like to know just what charity would need to be donated to in order to offset the evil that Zak and I represent... I mean seriously, what is the cause that both of us will be deeply opposed to?  Some kind of pro-censorship organization, I suppose...

On the other hand, there was at least one comment  I didn't find funny at all. More than a few people have spoken with praise to Wizards of the Coast for the inclusion of this statement in the section on Gender in the D&D rules:

"You don't need to be confined to binary notions of sex and gender. The elf god Correllon Larethian is often seen as androgynous or hermaphroditic, for example...You could also play a female character who presents herself as a man, or a man who feels trapped in a female body, or a bearded female dwarf who hates being mistaken for a male. Likewise, your character's sexual orientation is for you to decide."

Now, Bruce Baugh made a post on his G+ stream where he stated his problem with me and Zak being hired being that we would 'be opposed to the very options of inclusion that are being praised'.  He invited people to comment, even supposedly in defense of myself and Zak, so I wrote this on his thread:

Your statement about "options for inclusion" was pretty vague, so maybe you'll want to clarify what you meant by that.  However, at the moment as much as I wrack my brain I can't think of what you could possibly have meant other than the comment on gender found in the new D&D rules.

If that's the case, I think you're engaging in a serious injustice, be it accidental or intentional.

I was completely and explicitly in favor of Wizards including that, just as they did.  Contrary to what you have implied I have never  and would never be opposed to inclusion on the basis of gender or sexual orientation.  I have always been firmly in support of gay rights; I have had gay and bisexual players in my gaming groups, my wife (The Wench) and I lived for many years with a gay couple renting our spare bedroom, I have been a supporter of LGBT rights in Uruguay (which is one of the most progressive countries in South America on that note, where not only has gay marriage and adoption been legalized but anyone from the age of 12 onwards has a right to choose the gender stated on their identity card), and to my knowledge (maybe someone can point me to a pre-existing work that proves otherwise, but if so I did not hear of it) my Arrows of Indra is the first RPG to feature a transgendered character on the cover.

It's true that in some areas I would be seen as "conservative" by the broken dualistic concepts the U.S. paradigm is stuck with; but this is not one of those areas.

And again, many people  reading this might have legitimate reasons for hating me, because of my position on RPGs being radically different than theirs or even for other political stances I might have, but if anyone hates me because they think I'm a homophobe, they're dead wrong. If you or others want to cry angry tears over the fact that the new edition of D&D is closer to my vision of gaming than yours, that it represents a return to old-school thinking instead of pseudo-intellectual 'theory' bullshit or pseudo-artistic pretentiousness, then by all means continue, but I'm sure you can all find more than enough things to hate about me that are actually true, rather than misinformed.

I guess he didn't like that, though, and I guess his claims to fair debate were just bullshit, because he went on to block me and (I presume, I can't say for sure since he blocked me) to delete my post.  So I'm reposting it here.

It's very telling that the people who hate me (and Zak) can't just be honest about the reasons why; it seems silly and petty to say "this person should never be hounded out of his job because he has a different idea about RPGs than I do!" or even "This well-known RPG writer, blogger, and rpg forum owner said mean things about me! How dare they listen to him or take him seriously as a writer on RPGs!"
No, instead, they feel like they have to make up LIES about me being homophobic (or racist, or other such inventions).  I'm sure in their pseudo-activist minds they justify it by thinking "well, he doesn't agree with me on rpgs so he MUST deep down really be a neo-nazi or something, because anyone who disagrees with me is clearly evil in every way!"

And that's the sort of bullshit I just won't abide by.

Finally, I should note that while I did get paid some seriously fat cash, I do not actually gain royalties from D&D.
So haters: no matter how much you hate the fact that I mattered to the design process of D&D, and that in spite of your wishing it weren't so I continue to be successful, your buying or not buying D&D products does not enrich or impoverish me in any way.  You can go forth and safely purchase D&D.  Go on... I mean, surely, you were actually planning to buy D&D, right? It couldn't possibly be that you're mostly from the crowd of perennial D&D-despisers who would never have bought the thing no matter what, right?


Currently Smoking: Stanwell Compact + Image Latakia


  1. strangely enough, we have the same hater (judging from the twitter feed that was pointed out to me) in common. I think she's blocked me since 2012 (I know her husband has).

    different opinions is the spice of life. just because we don't agree doesn't make one right and one wrong.

    I don't necessarily agree with Zak on many things, but hate? He adds more to the community in a week then out lead hater has in her lifetime.

  2. I would completely discount anything Bruce BAWWGH has to say on RPGs; he *lost his shit* when Hackmaster 4e won an Origins award during the glut of useless D20 products, stomping his little foot about how Hackmaster SOMEHOW managed to beat out "Fresh" and "original" games like - for chrissake - d20 Wheel of Time, D20 this, d20 that, d20 the other. You remember d20, right? The deluge of wonderful* games that tons of people** still play that were produced during the 2000-2005 era? Yeah, that Bruce Baugh. I wouldn't lose any sleep over anything BAWWWGH has to say, just point and laugh and move on.



  3. As post-stroke Anthony Hopkins said in Legends of the Fall: "SCRW EM!" Haters gonna hate, and ain't no hate like a troll-haters hate! Hey man, I got mines, and I'm screaming it from the rooftops on ye olde blog:

  4. They're just jealous. Too bad for them. So far, everything I've read from the D&D Basic is awesomesauce. Thank you for working on such a wonderful product!

  5. Thanks for the support, guys!

  6. My friend, Ms. A. A. I will call her, HATES Sarah Palin, even though hey have pretty much the same ideology. Why? She can't tell me. She says it's because women with kids should be in the home instead of being politicians.

    Which is utter bullshit. Good people do politics to make a world their kids can live in.

    This is not a Sarah Palin comment. It's a jealousy comment. I don't care whether you like her or not. It's just an example.

    Jealousy makes people do stupid things. There are folks who can't stand to see people who are somewhat like themselves but better in some way succeed at the things they wish they themselves could do.

    Bruce hates himself and that hate gets projected outward. He has a visceral need to bring you down so he doesn't feel like such a failure.

    But if he did succeed, he would still has himself and he would just move on to another target.

  7. To Hell with them, man! This new version of Basic D&D has me excited and interested again. Take pride in working on such a wonderful product and I can not wait to see some of the more advanced stuff coming down the way. The whole team did a fantastic job from what I have seen so far.

  8. First off congrats on the consultant credit. To get your name, even in such a small way into D&D is still gotta be worth something. I know you have had your name on the cover of books before, but there still has to be a thrill.

    Second. I am curious what you consulted on? Was it a read through of the rules? Overall theme or direction? I mean you obviously have strong opinions and a style of play your prefer which is why I think WotC would have sought you out. How did that translate into the work you did? Only curious. No ulterior motives here.

  9. I've read Zak's blog for a while now, but only came here due to the empty cans rattling as loud as they are right now. So for that, I thank them; I have a new blog to follow. Anyone that can piss off that many dorks is ok by me. Good on ya!

  10. Timothy: Thank you very much. Yes, even though I've published four books of my own, and been credited in some capacity or another in like, a half dozen others, I still felt stupidly utterly giddy at seeing my name on D&D. Because it's D&D.

    My main job was to interact personally with Mike Mearls, and provide direct and intense criticism (in the sense of a review) of the whole rules, specific mechanics, and successive rule sets, as well as presentation. And in general, advise him in terms of what old-school gamers want and how to approach them (not just in the rules but in how to talk to them during the process itself). He made it very clear from the start that he wanted someone who wasn't going to be afraid to be totally brutally honest about what he thinks, and would call something shit if he thought it was shit.

    1. That is pretty much what I expected. If he was looking for brutal honesty then I think he did good. Plus I am glad he felt the need to seek out consultants like you and Zak. It shows that Mearls and WotC cared about how this game was going to be played by all factions.

    2. Yes, I think that was more or less the point.

  11. Ulthar: great, thank you very much! Hope you enjoy the blog. In the old days of the war, one of the Swine had accused my readers of being my "proxies", so on the old blog the fans and readers of the Pundit were the Proxies. Maybe it's time to revive that term. Go forth, my Proxies, and sabotage the efforts of the bullshit brigade!!

    Though it seems they're doing a good enough job of that themselves; my blog readership has something like doubled since this started, people have reported to me that games in some way associated with me have increased in sales. They're literally MAKING ME MONEY now.

  12. Just FYI, by the time I saw this post, Baugh had reworded the initial post to the thread in question, such that the new version didn't even PRETEND to be interested in debate or in claiming that people defending you or Zak would get a fair hearing. He shut down more people than just you, and eventually closed comments on that thread entirely.

  13. And that tells you pretty much all you need to know about Bruce Baugh's "nice guy" facade.

  14. I am glad to be in such good company. He blocked me for having an opposing opinion as well regarding the troll Randi Harper.

  15. I am glad to be in such good company. He blocked me for having an opposing opinion as well regarding the troll Randi Harper.