Every woman or person of color or queer person driven out of gaming by harassment or bigotry is someone whose perspective our games are missing.
We know what guys like Frank Menzter, Bill Webb and all those other guys have to offer, because the gaming industry has let them show us.
We know what guys like Harvey Weinstein and Brent Ratner have to offer, because we’ve seen those movies. Those awful, awful movies. Come on, you try to tell me that Rush Hour 2 and X-men III were worth propping Ratner up and sacrificing the careers of the women he harassed.
Now say it with a straight face.
Even mediocre dudes get a pass over women who may, in fact, be far more talented and capable, but we’ll never know because the culture has decided that even shitlords like these guys are more important than anyone who isn’t a cis het white (or white passing, not having that argument right now) dude.
So we get more of the same old, same old instead of new and interesting visions and products.
In areas where women, poc, and queer folk are allowed to participate, or carve out a place for themselves, we get a lot of new and innovative products and styles. We get Monsterheartsinstead of another Red Box Clone. We get #Feminism instead of more oblivious and derivative D20 products, or Champions, or… any game where leveling feels like a punishment and requires a graphing calculator.
And don’t get me wrong, I love me some GURPS. If I have to play a trad game, that is my go-to every time. And while I do enjoy Blue Rose, it’s nothing particularly ground-breaking. It’s a lovely, lovely book with a good system.
And Pathfinder was doing so well, until the latest publications where you can play a slave-owner/trader.
Because that was necessary to include explicitly.
Trust me, guys. If people are inclined to do that shit, they don’t need your permission. They’ll do it.
Shit like that just makes me appreciate the guys who wrote Godlike* explicitly stating that they did not want anyone playing Nazis and if they did, that made them an asshole.
I get it. Explore realities and lives that aren’t yours, but as I’ve said on far too many posts to count about using rape in games: if you want to explore what it’s like to be a rapist, a mass-murdering sociopath, or a bigot, go fuck yourself. Because odds are good, you aren’t actually pretending, except for the mass-murdering part, probably. Hopefully.
You know what else this could cost us? Our hobby.
Industries don’t survive without people buying the products. And let’s face it, grognards, you’re dying out. Much like with comics, gaming needs new blood. Those indie games you’re so dismissive of often act as a gateway drug to things like D&D and OSR games.
And why is it the only people I EVER hear talking about the Indie-OSR feud are OSR guys. The indie players are all, “Sure, yeah, I’ll play whatever.”
I don’t get it.
But yeah, the hobby needs new blood, and if all your products are covered with boobie girls and dark skinned villain races, it’s going to be a pretty hard sell to women and people of color. If you don’t address the reality of queer or trans people, you’re going to have a hard time convincing queer and trans players to take a chance on your game. And if you’re all about how rape is “historically accurate” but have orcs and dragons in your game, there are whole swathes of the population who will nope right on out of that.
And if you don’t have women, poc, queer and trans folk involved in creating your product, you’re going to unknowingly let a whole bunch of really offensive shit slide by because “it doesn’t bother me.”
So, as someone who loves this hobby, who backs a number of RPGs on Kickstarter that may be just slightly outside her budget, please quit making me hate my hobby.
Quit harassing women, poc, queer and trans people.
Quit giving the harassers a pass by pretending they don’t know any better.
Quit supporting the work of harassers and rapists.
*Disclaimer, I’m referring to the first edition of Godlike. I have no idea if subsequent editions have kept it.