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Tuesday, 2 September 2014

An RPG Charter of Freedoms and Principles

We, the undersigned, in light of recent events in the RPG/gaming hobby and in 'geek culture' in general, wish to clarify our unwavering commitment to the following ideas:

0. The hobby is open to everyone. Everyone, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other quality are welcome to participate in the hobby.  Everyone has an inherent right to equal treatment, and we will condemn all instances of either discrimination or preferential treatment on the basis of race, sex, sexual preference, age, social class, ethnicity/nationality, or any other similar quality.

1. Everyone in the hobby has an inherent right to say and express what they want.  We oppose censorship on principle, within the reasonable bounds of legality and only the most basic of requisites for the functionality of public spaces for debate. Everyone, regardless of any condition, has a right to speak/write about games, design games, criticize games, and present ideas about games and gaming culture.

2. Everyone likewise has the right to criticize statements made by anyone else, to examine them for truth, to condemn them, so long as said criticisms and condemnation remain within the boundaries of legality and truthfulness. 

3. There is no right to lie.  There is no right to attempt to censor someone else's expression for the purpose of not allowing third parties to make up their own minds.  There is no "right to not be offended".

4. We oppose harassment, persecution, stalking, attempts to blackball any individuals in the hobby, and particularly any attempts to threaten their physical persons or expose details of their personal lives for the purpose of harassment or intimidation. Likewise the use of slurs/insults against a person's race, physical appearance, sexual orientation, gender or other inherent qualities of birth or personal characteristics irrelevant to a person's ideas.

5. The vigorous challenging of a person's ideas or statements in public and topical venues is NOT harassment.   A person has no "right to not be questioned".


(feel free to share, undersign, or otherwise express your support for the above)


  1. Is this in light of all the game journalists calling out all gamers worst than ISIS? Yeah the social justice trolls and corrupt buy outs went there.

  2. "The Swine are any people for whom RPGs have, as their primary purpose, the conveyance of some kind of sense of personal self-worth. This need for gaining self-esteem out of RPGs manifests itself in creating and aggresively promoting the concept that RPGs are either "art" or "intellectual pursuit" rather than a mere game, and usually implying that someone who participates (to them it would not just be "playing") in an RPG is doing something of inherent value with their lives. In order to create this illusion, the value of "art" or "intellectual" has to totally superimpose itself over "fun" and "play".

    Likewise, and here's the insidious part, in order for the Swine to be able to gain this sense of self-worth from what any sane person would consider a meaningless game (meaningless good fun, but still utterly meaningless and certainly not self-validating) the Swine must attempt to utterly destroy the concept that RPGs should be played for fun as a mere game, and must promote the concept that they (the Swine) are the special elite who truly understand RPGs, and actively work against the popularity of RPGs.
    So the Swine have it as part of their make-up, conscious of the fact or not, the destruction of the RPG industry, and indeed of the hobby as a hobby or as play. All this for their own selfish, low, contemptible ends.

    Now, only a few of the Swine are the truly incorrigible willfully evil kind that have no real interest in RPGs as a game, as play, or as fun, and want only to fulfill some kind of sick psychosis. Sadly, the vast majority of the Swine were hapless rubes, the willing or unwilling fools that bought into the foul creeds of the real Swine in the 1990s when the Swine took over the entire ideological basis of the Gaming industry; hence that era being what I've called gaming's "generation of Swine". Most of these gamers had come into RPGs playing D&D and having a great old time, but let themselves be hoodwinked into thinking that how they were playing RPGs was "wrong" or "stupid", and in their desperate desire to appear as sophisticated as the Swine appeared (and only the very young and impressionable, or the terminally stupid, could fail to see through the Swine's cheap two-bit artistic posturing and pathetic pseudo-intellectualism), they let themselves be brainwashed into thinking that playing story-based games where nothing happens and the players are cheerleaders for the DM's (or the game designer's) brilliance were somehow more fun than blowing up buildings or cutting orcs in half.
    Fortunately, with each year in the last six or so, there have been less and less people fooled by the Swine, some of the lost generation have even reformed themselves, and the damage is slowly being repaired. Slowly, the hardcore Swine are being pushed more and more to the margin, leaving only the most extreme cases to continue arguing meaninglessly in places like and the Forge, still pretending that they are the ones who matter.

    There is obviously some kind of deep psychological explanation for why the Swine are like this, which I won't pretend to be able to analyze, except to look at the most basic probable cause which is that people who become Gamer Swine are the ones who don't have enough going for them in the real world or in their real lives to give them some kind of a sense of validation. I mean, I sure as fuck don't need to play RPGs as a way to make myself feel smart, or to pretend I'm doing meaningful work. I play RPGs as a way to get away from that shit; that shit being what I do in the real world, in my real life. I have a strong suspicion that the majority of the Swine don't have much of a real life.

    Let's hope that (mixed with my original essays on the Swine in the first entries to this blog) this definition ends up clarifying the issue somewhat, and providing a better breakdown of what the Swine are all about."

    RPGPundit (february 18th 2006)

  3. Yeah, and? It's great that you spend enough time reading me to find something I posted over 8 years ago, but you'll note that there I'm talking about IDEAS, not about sex, gender, race, or sexual orientation. I'm condemning people for shitty behaviour, which was very much going on at that time. Now, of course, some of those same people have graduated from making up useless bullshit theories about roleplaying to engaging in deceitful and self-serving smear campaigns where they make up false accusations against people they dislike, abusing otherwise worthy causes in acts of misappropriation to try to enforce their will on the hobby since no one takes their 'theories' seriously anymore.

  4. The Charter is pretty good.

    The Swine post seems to be criticizing a certain, ill-defined group by attacking a completely different, well-defined group. I see RPGs and their pursuit as more than a "fun game". But not really in the same way as people who use RPGs to fuel a bigger social agenda. Although, I'm not sure how that bigger social agenda coincides with story games where nothing really happens (something I'm also against).

    My validation comes from artistic creation. Roleplaying as a player and GM (just like adventure writing and book publishing) are skill-sets I value. If I can see incremental progress in those things, then I feel empowered, like I'm winning.

  5. I gladly undersign and endorse this charter.

    Chris McNeil a.k.a. Gwarh

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. (Sorry about the delete. I wanted to get this right.)

      You, Zak S and perhaps others were maliciously smeared and lied about. There is no question about that.

      But if you want me to be honest, I don't think the Charter helps much. These days, intolerance is practiced in the name of tolerance. Bullying is done in the name of anti-bullying and lies are told in, well, the alleged service of truth. So, it's not clear how condemning intolerance, bullying and lying changes much.

      More to the point of the text itself, the most crucial terms and concepts--harassment, persecution, attempts to censor, attempts to blackball--are left undefined. But with respect, I think it is their very definition that is at issue.

      Left unstated in the Charter is the relationship between someone's opinions on gaming and, say, someone's opinions on religion or politics or even their publicly described behavior outside of gaming. Are we allowed to link them, or is that itself intolerant? Hypothetically, if, say, a person doesn't like your particular political opinions about this or that, or, say Zak’s publicly revealed involvement with the pornography industry, is he allowed to try to strongly persuade others not to listen to your or Zak's opinions on gaming or persuade others not to buy your or Zak's games? Quite honestly, I think that sort of question is implicitly at issue as well.

      I don’t want to be coy here. Personally, I think that sort of linking, beyond the most extreme sorts of cases, exemplifies the intolerant mind-set.

      Lastly, I personally think there is a tension between the values of tolerance (including free speech) and sorting people or social categories into protected classes versus (implicitly) unprotected classes. There's a different line with the protected classes (or so it would seem to follow) and no fair going over, but it's okay for the unprotected classes. But how does that jibe with tolerance? Isn't tolerance about creating a space, not for people and things you like (that would be unnecessary), but for people and things you don't like?

      Admittedly the protected categories here seem to all be based on something like "things that an individual has no control over." It seems innocuous. Who would disagree? But anyone who’s been paying attention over the last thirty or more years can see how quite often charges of "racism", "sexism" and now "homophobia", and "transgenderism" have been used as pretexts for censorship (social or governmental), bullying, and in my view, out and out hate mongering against those who are contrary (or are accused of being contrary) to the social zeitgeist, whatever that fluctuating entity happens to be at the moment (or just used as pretexts for one person to publicly attack another for whatever selfish or petty reason). The recent attacks against you and Zak S are an obvious example of that.

    2. Well, that's part of my point with Point 0 and the subject of "preferential treatment". What I'm saying is that I will very strongly condemn anyone attacking another gamer for being a woman, or a person of color, or gay (just to name a few examples), and I will just a strongly reject the idea that what a woman, or person of color, or gay person says about gaming Must Not Be Questioned because of who they are.

      I think this is what I'd like to call the Sane Middle Ground.

  7. That sounds fine to me. But in the thousands of posts, comments, messages, etc. I've read since following the gaming discussions on the blogs and Google+ in the last year or so, I've never ever seen seriously anyone attack another gamer for being a women, person of color or gay. Never. That this is a problem at all, in any way, shape or form is quite frankly an utter fantasy. That any person should feel that they have to jump through that particular hoop and CONDEMN it, is, well, part of the problem.

    A sane person chooses his ground because it's, well, sane, not because it happens to be in the middle, whatever that means, or anywhere else.

    That said, I'm on your side, I think.

  8. I've seen people who, being angry at something they perceive a woman or person or color or LGBT person is wrong about, attack them on the basis of their gender, race or sexuality. That's a problem to me.

    I've also definitely seen that there were people suggesting it was 'Harmful to children' that WoTC include more open definitions of gender in D&D. I disagree with those people.

    But you're right, I've seen pretty much no one say "we want to keep women/racial minorities/lgbt OUT of our hobby!"; and on the other hand I've seen a lot of pseudo-activists make a lot of bank out of pretending that there's hordes of people saying that.