Saturday, July 26, 2014

Mandy Morbid on the D&D 5th Edition Consultant Thing

From her Tumblr….














More Reasons People Found to Hate Me

So, a long time ago I started playing Dungeons & Dragons. Well really I started playing Warhammer 40K first, and painting the minis while I was recovering from surgery. I wasn’t healing properly and I didn’t respond to my post op pain medication—in fact it made me so sick I stopped taking it less than 48 hours after my surgery—so I was on my own basically as far as recovery was going. Zak was taking care of me. He had bought me a Wii to play during recovery but I was too sick to sit up long enough to play and in too much pain to manage the controller. I was also getting cabin fever being so sick and stuck in bed. So Zak then brought me some minis to paint, Daemonettes and Sisters of Battle and Harlequins for homebrew Warhammer 40K games. Our nerdier friends came over and I could play from bed, or sitting on the floor—we spread our terrain out over our studio apartment floor.
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Warhammer 40K lead to D&D when my friend Satine Phoenix heard about my interest. She had been playing since she was in high school and she missed it—so D&D With Porn Stars was born. I first played a thief but this only lasted one or two sessions. I quickly abandoned my (to me) boring thief and rolled up a half-demon (abandoned on the steps of a cathedral) cleric of Vorn—grim god of iron and rain. I also quickly started recruiting my friends to play with us. I wasn’t well and I missed hanging out and this was an activity where my physical limitations didn’t matter at all. My friend Kimberly Kane (AVN best actress winner and Feminist Porn Director award winner) started playing with us—probably the most unlikely D&D player out of all my friends—then my friend Connie—we danced together at Cheetah’s a bikini bar in Hollywood. Connie is shy and has social anxiety and so I was well enough to go back to the club and tell her about our games backstage between our sets before she finally joined in. Then our friend Frankie who, like Connie and I, was a Suicide Girl model. And my siblings started playing with us whenever they were around, on the rare visits to LA and back home in Canada during the holidays.
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Our campaign had been running for a year when the Escapist contacted us, Zak’s blogging about our adventures interested them, and they wanted us to film our games for a weekly web series, so that’s when we started filming I Hit With My Axe.
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Awhile before IHWMA went online Zak had already had to defend me & my girls on an internet forum after someone on a podcast called us “brain damaged”. The guys involved in the podcast apologized to us—well to Zak first as he was the one most tuned into this stuff at the time—when Zak called them on that bullshit—but the forum reaction was appalling and the forum pretty much discriminated against Zak for years after. And what I saw, as a woman gamer, on that forum was pure hatred for anything different. For someone like me daring to play a make believe elf-game and for someone like Zak to post online about girls like me and my friends playing tabletop role playing games. I saw how they hated Zak for sticking up for us, I saw how no one EXCEPT Zak stood up for us, and then I saw how some of them decided to hate Zak for calling them on their bullshit loudly and aggressively. 
So before Axe went online I already had a certain degree of trepidation about exposing myself as a gamer to masses of mostly white male hobbyists. We talked about it. I am not one to let fear stop me from doing something I want to do. I knew parts of Axe were going to be challenging for me, and they were.
The hostility I had glimpsed on that one forum (StoryGames) had made me feel like I wasn’t at all wanted in the hobby but my reaction my whole life to nonsense exclusion like that was to fucking rebel. So you don’t like girls playing your boy games? Oh we’re not playing the games YOU like? We’re not playing exactly the way you like to play with the rules you like? Well I don’t give a fuck what you think. I give a fuck about what I like, and I fucking know what I like, and I am going to show you all how much fun we are having. I got a lot of my porn friends to come play with us as guest stars on Axe, and many of them continued to play with regularly outside of the filmed gamed sessions. I wanted all my friends to come play with me. 
So Axe went ahead and got made.
And the misogyny washed over us. In a series of tidal waves after the first few episodes aired. You wouldn’t…well women would…believe the awful stuff people said ( example:”I don’t feel like watching hookers make noise”). Satine and I got on the Escapist forums and started defending ourselves, we engaged with the people not being total dicks. Connie and Frankie joined in too. Eventually more and more people started shouting the idiots and their sexism down and Axe hit it’s stride and became quite popular. We had a lot of fun making that show but we really got shit on for doing it. 
Anyway, Zak’s blog got more popular. He also started working on Vornheim: The Complete City Kit, for running D&D type adventures in a city setting. When Vornheim was published it sold out and won a bunch of awards, including the IndieCade award (usually a video-game award) for technology of all things.
A friend of ours knew a guy who’s a writer who wanted to write about our group for Maxim. So we were in Maxim, a sweet and friendly article, a little bit about us personally, a little bit about the game session that night where we had the reporter playing with us, a little bit about how people who do porn are really just normal people, and some nude photos of us sitting around our game table with a lot of colourful snacks and dice and everyone’s nipples cleverly hidden behind limbs or copies of the Monster Manual.
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(Different photoshot ^^ with me, Connie, Laney Chantal, Charlotte Stokely, shot by Paradox Productions/D23)
And we got hated on more and more. And Zak went on doing what Zak does when people say fucked up shit about me and our friends: he defends us—loudly and aggressively. And he went on doing the same thing when people said fucked up shit about him too. Or anyoneelse, even people he doesn’t know—if they are being attacked unfairly too (read the comments in that last link). 
Have you seen the youtube video about Phil Fish? You should. Especially if you, like me never heard of Phil Fish. It’s relevant. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmTUW-owa2w 
Meanwhile, offline, and elsewhere online we went on with the non-gamer parts of our lives. I was getting sicker, not better, over the years. That’s become a pretty massive part of our lives. Zak has always always taken care of me when I needed it, and our other friends as well. For nearly all of 2011 we were in Montreal trying to use my Canadian health care to find out what was happening to me. (Originally I was going to start university there—where I’m from—and split my time between LA and porn, and home and school, but my health was rapidly degenerating and I am still not in any shape to attend classes, get around campus and cope with the work load.) We started playing a lot more games on Google +’s video chat during this time since we were away from our friends.
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It was Satine’s idea to use G+ group video chats to play games and Zak started this thing called ConstantCon up, where people are running tabletop rpgs on G+ all the time and lots of people from all over can meet up and play, which is pretty great for people having trouble finding cool people to game with in person or for people who are far from their usual group.
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I was in Montreal drowning in a medical system not designed to care for someone with a rare and poorly understood chronic and degenerative and difficult-to-identify genetic syndrome, waiting for the next test, the next appointment, trying not to despair as I lost my ability to walk and no one could help me, and more wouldn’t even take me seriously, when our issue of Maxim came out. G+ got pretty noisy about it for awhile. Zak was defending us again because some people were saying us being in Maxim was bad for women, and bad for women in gaming. I joined in to speak for myself. It was messy and stressful. Lines were drawn in the sand at that point. I’m currently trying to work things out, move past that notorious argument, with one of the women involved. So I am not going to link to that mess. 
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But, in general, the hate kept coming…..
There was a horrible incident where I, some gamer women friends tried to articulate a different opinion about sexism in gaming than the typical anti-chainmail-bikini "ladyism"and tried to speak up about the “white knighting” we were experiencing in the online hobby community: http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?624898-5e-Dragon-s-Eye-View-Sexism-in-Fantasy/page53
And Zak keeps defending people, me, my girlfriends, people he doesn’t even know, online friends, and he keeps getting seriously mischaracterized as a troll or some horrible ethically unacceptable thing just, basically, for asking people honest questions. He keeps calling people on their bullshit and so he’s seen by some people as being the bad guy. He’s not a bad guy.
He is a guy in an unusual place: he has one of the most popular blogs in tabletop gaming but doesn’t make his money in the gaming industry—so he has the ability to reach people without the same fear of making waves that a full-time RPG designer would. He is in the rare position of being able to tell the truth and be listened to, so he feels an obligation to stick up for people.
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Here’s an example of an event involving Zak that pissed a lot of people off. It’s recounted on someone else’s blog: Trigger warning here, for sexual assault, threats, etc, and I don’t agree with the tone or language used in the post linked:  http://therpgpundit.blogspot.com/2013/12/for-pseudo-activists-lying-about-rape.html …but it’s all true. Someone made up a lie, 80 people endorsed it, Zak told everybody not to trust those people, some apologized and that was great—most got pissed and even more self-righteous.
Fast forward to now:
There’s a lot of talk online in some places recently about some “controversial" consultants on Dungeons & Dragon’s 5th edition. 
My boyfriend Zak is one of the consultants.
I’ve dealt with a lot of bullshit online when it comes to gaming myself but it’s culminating in death threats and boycotts and smears and a lot of generally creepy and disturbing stuff.
Since the 5th edition came out Zak’s been accused of ableism and homophobia and transphobia and a few other nasty things too, sexism, trolling, etc. It’s all basically libel and I’ve posted about the nonsensical “ableism” accusations already. (Do you know how many disabled people are in my home group? 2 regulars, and one irregular.) When the people responsible for these accusations are questioned or asked for proof they invariable fail to provide any. Some claim to fear for their safety. Some claim they don’t have the time. WOTC—the company that runs D&D—has asked people to email them proof and got nothing at all damning on Zak. It’s pretty atrocious behaviour, going all the way to creepy-as-fuck threats and posturing.
The most active group started life as a weird militant pro-4th-edition D&D (it sounds stupid, I know) Something Awful thread that attacked me for having electrical cords on my wish list. These people still bear a grudge to this day for Zak catching one of their members openly lying.
What distinguishes the online RPG business from others is the trolls are actually professional game designers—the Something Awful veterans cluster around something called Funhaver Games, headed by someone variously credited as one name when designing games, “Mikan” when trolling, and “Tablehop” on twitter. They also keep active on RPGnet where Mikan’s friend Paul Matijevic is a moderator under the name Ettin.
Meanwhile people like me, Connie (my black/mixed race girlfriend—yes THAT kind of girlfriend), Scrap Princess (trans- gamer in Zak’s group and longtime friend), Satine (another friend, gamer and woman-of-colour who’s spoken (TW) publicly (*some minor factual errors in that article*) about the abuse she survived as a child, Izzy (who is my friend and a fellow gamer but also suffers from the same genetic syndrome as I do and uses a wheelchair like me) and many gay people, trans- folk, women and people of colour, many of whom have never even met Zak keep getting ignored whenever we try to speak up about this or about Zak.
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Connie and I
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Our opinions, our experiences, don’t count. We’re harder to target and make shit up about than Zak, who’s white, cis, straight, able bodied and male. The people attacking Zak continuously pretend we don’t exist because it makes their argument easier. They are trying to smear Zak for “silencing LGBT people” by, literally, ignoring voices of LGBT people in the discussion.
One white cishet guy even decided we all have Stockholm syndrome.
All this upsets me, more than it upsets Zak I think. All the libel and negative attention, even on the tiny scale of the tabletop RPG community (which is nothing compared to the bullshit you read about yourself in the porn world, but somehow hurts more because it’s from people pretending to be responsible). I’m Canadian, I don’t like conflict, I don’t like being involved in conflict. But I do feel morally obligated to stand up for what I believe is right. I was raised on Star Trek TNG—as an educational tool. So that’s what I’m doing. Zak’s pissed some people off yeah. But he isn’t the devil he’s been painted as. He’s fucking awesome.
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These are some of my negative experiences as a girl gamer, as a fairly high profile girl gamer. People have always attacked Zak because he’s an easier target, because he is brave and bold and unflinching when it comes to standing up to bullies, because he’s out there watching out for people like me, Satine, Connie, Charlotte Stokely, artists, creators, performers, and gamers, anyone who the gatekeepers are trying to shame and intimidate out of the hobby. 
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If there is any such thing as an online tabletop RPG community, and I think there is a bit, I think we need to be questioning people’s behaviour, and I think it’s only fair to warn people about those who talk a big game about inclusivity and tolerance and who in practice are doing just the opposite, and have been all along. 

28 comments:

  1. Sorry for all the hate toward you and your friends. I've heard of similar misogyny directed toward women in comics or SF fandom who speak out about sexism in their corner of the nerdosphere.

    Sounds like all those people doing the hating feel threatened, but by what?

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  2. Keep playing, keep talking about playing, and keep on ignoring the assholes.

    FMB

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  3. I've always said that while I love my hobby I have a hard time with it because I hate so many of the people involved in the hobby. Nerds can be really vicious for some reason. I wish that weren't the case and I hate knowing that you (or anyone else for that matter) has to deal with it.

    On a positive note, though, I'm happy you have fun playing my favorite game, I'm happy you have the support of people like Zak, and I'm happy Zak has someone like you to get his back as well.

    Please continue to be awesome and Game On! Also, if you or any of your crew are in the Boston area, I'll save a space at my table for ya'll.

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    Replies
    1. I think 'Nerds can be really vicious' because they sometimes feel like they themselves have been persecuted unfairly... and once they find their comfort zone... something they're good at/enjoy... some of that resentment spill out at other folks they can feel superior to. The whole 'arrogant tech-support guy' stereotype that kinda rings true despite being a stereotype.
      My own experience was with the local arts/poetry scene where guys who were dorks in High School were suddenly rock stars (sortof)... and behave just like the assholes they hated back in the day.
      Also, Zak plainly catches shit because some folks are jealous.

      Delete
  4. Keep on playing! I love reading about your adventures in the real world as well as in the imagination. If I ever feel like a bit of an oddball or different you lot always remind me that that's ok. :D

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  5. You guys are the best. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Zak is a bit of a personal hero of mine and a role model as an artist, blogger, d&d/warhammer nerd and overall cool guy. I'm a Canadian and dislike conflict too, but it really gets me mad hearing how people are treating you guys and what they are saying about you. Stay strong, you have people on your side.

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  6. Thanks for sharing your story Mandy. I have picked up pieces of it here and there from following the blog but its good to read the whole story in your own words. I am a big fan of IHIWMA and Vornheim. So much stealable content that has improved my game.

    I went to the story games forum maybe once in my life and RPG.net for about a month years ago when good posters were still about. Both of these forums are not really about rpg's anymore, certainly not people playing rpgs. I struggle to see why people lend these disfunctional forums so much credence. I think it was Mearls who implied that the haters on these forums weren't their market and weren't being listened too anymore. This doesn't give them the right to make shit up and I agree with the policy of confronting them on their bullshit. Its just a small group lacking in empathy and understanding who are spoiling it for the rest of us.

    Love your work. I and many others appreciate what you're doing.

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  7. You guys keep having fun and doing exactly what you want to do ! Life is too short to let idiots tell you what to do with any of it.

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  8. So sorry for all you guys have had to go through. Hang in there!

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  9. It's really fucked up what some "professionals" have tried to do to you. I'm thrilled you do what you do. You write some of the best gaming material I've ever seen.

    I'm also insanely impressed at the tenaciousness you've shown butting heads with those ass-wipes. Even more so with the levelheadedness that you constantly display.

    Mad props to Mandy too. Dealing with this BS on top of everything else...

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  10. I liked your dogs and your mermaids. I am jealous that you get to play all the time. Don't let the turkeys get you down.

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  11. Haters going to hate, trollers going to troll. This current incident is giving me flashbacks to that stupid OSR kerfluffle of a few years back when someone got slammed just for suggesting "Dicing with Porn Stars" was good blog to read. Being a blogger requires a thick skin. James Raggi had a nice post a few years back, based on similar problems with being an indie rock band reviewer. Best of luck and know that most of readers will spot a smear campaign when they see it.

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  12. I just want to post to express support as well - I know there's nothing easier and cheaper than telling you to "forget" or "ignore" the haters, but really, don't give one more minute of your time to those people.

    You cannot do anything fun or worthwhile without pissing someone off.

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  13. This is the best writing I have seen on the subject. These kind of attacks can come from anywhere people live, and can be inflicted on anyone. They are the result of building walls and small thinking.

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  14. You know its a small world when you've read that post from a different link and have come here to look for your contact details only to find it conveniently placed in its own post.

    So, I'll leave my feedback here. It's a little rambly, just jump to the end paragraph for the point I want to make if its too long to bother reading.


    I stumbled across you as a person via escapist (I watched Zero Punctuation, and saw the first episode of IHIWMA hyped), and at first I'll fully admit I was dubious. I've seen far too many "cash in on this niche topic" enterprises to have not been. However, once I saw it, I saw a group of people having fun, playing something which vaguely looked like the games I play and I enjoyed it.

    I obviously quickly found this blog, mined it for all its crazy ideas it was spitting out, and carried on watching the show. I've since bought your book, lamented the end of the show, and enjoyed keeping tabs with the ongoing campaign details as they come out in dribs and drabs.

    In recent years (oh god, I've been here too long) I have steadily found your outbursts to have an aggression I felt was counter-productive to your agenda, and your use of language to be alienating and crass. Now as I've had nothing against you or your group, and I often stand by the point you've made (even if I'd have made it differently), I've just ignored this niggling detail of the execution. It's hardly constructive of me to complain about *how* you're arguing when I agree with the essence of what you're saying, it just makes needless noise.


    So, I just wanted to say - having read that post, and had a deeper insight into the stuff you have endured. The causes you've chosen to champion, the crap you've had to shovel through, all the little battles you've had to fight. All this stuff that I had a vague idea of happening somewhere in the background, all laid out to see... well, I wonder how you've not been harsher.
    I can see exactly why you're fed up enough to not be diplomatic any more, and I wish to endorse it - these idiots have taken FAR too much of your time as it is.
    I'm glad you're still standing up to them, but I guess I'm sorry for thinking the things I didn't even say (except above).
    It may seem silly to apologise for something you didn't do - but considering the entire war that's being fought here is one based on the perspective of people's (namely your) character, and the way in which we (as a community, and humans in general) think about things... well it seems appropriate. So yeah, sorry, and keep it up!

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  15. don't listen to those fuck tards....you guy's games are fucking awesome and i'd love to play with you girls any day!!!! zak is one of the best DM's i've ever seen....hell i'd be honored to play in a game with zak.

    ps connie is a sweet heart....i'd marry that girl in a heart beat! : )

    -styx

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  16. the only time I have ever thought Mandy was 'brain damaged' was seeing a video of you (Zak) and her on G4 talking about a DIY trepanning with a power drill, and you decided to test it on a watermelon first, and the melon shattered.

    as for your gaming group, all I can say is how envious I am of you, because based on your videos no one in your group tries to out shout one another, or threaten to kill one another over the interpretation of the rules.

    I didn't know gaming groups could behave like that.

    as for your mistreatment on rpg.net, in large part because of that, I have almost completely quit going to that forum because of how they treat you and the rest of your group. it may not be much, but if I have to choose sides, I'll go with you guys rather then the self proclaimed Social Justice Warriors.

    glad to see I hit it with my Axe is returning as well.
    love to read about your games. keep up the good work.

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  17. Can't stand haters who stoop to personal attacks. A thread from IHIWMA, to Zak's blog, to Izzy's stream, led me to streamed D&D. The fun you and your friends were sharing has resulted in my reviewing 5th ed rules today on my way to getting into a roll20 game soon.

    IRL stuff - gender, career, and style - should take a second seat to imagination and unconventional problem solving which is the core of D&D fun. As they are the basis for the attacks on you, I find myself in your corner. I'll bet most gamers would feel the same. The haters are a small minority, and hurt you much less if ignored. Their noise is like a single kazoo in the middle of a rock concert.

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  18. Thank you for that words. They are sincere, they are moving and they are brave. This is not only about gaming or internet, it's about decent human beauviour. Thanks, really.

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  19. Ok, Fred Hicks of Evil Hat has reached epic-tier smarminess in reaction to that.
    Mandy calls him out for being a dick above..

    And Fred Hicks tries to paint himself as totally not exactly one of the pigfuckers that created this situation:

    https://plus.google.com/+FredHicks/posts/h4ieFn1AxTx

    Let's translate this bullshit:

    "Worth reading; a number of people not on Zak's side "

    Worth reading; both I and people who are big fans of mine, including ones plus one-ing this post…

    "have made a lot of effort to dress him up in a big scary monster costume rather than let actual facts and actual behavior act as the record."

    Like when I said I didn't usually hate anyone but I wished Zak would "self-eject from the planet"

    "In the process voices that shouldn't be ignored, have been."

    …by me, Fred Hicks, of Evil Hat.

    "That's not cool. So maybe take the time to read this. "

    I am trying to cover my ass so I can continue to pretend to be a feminist.

    "Of course she's biased, and she should be."

    I am subtly painting my female interlocutor as irrational and blinded by love.

    "We're all biased one way or another, so don't go claiming you aren't; the biggest and nastiest bias out there is the one you operate under, because it's usually totally fucking invisible to you."

    See? I can excuse all my own bullshit with abstractions!

    "I do feel there are a number of problems with the way he has behaved, of course."

    He disagreed with me and asked me questions.

    "When I expressed some concerns about some thoroughly sexist imagery"

    When I disagreed with the feminist who wrote this post about whether some imagery was sexist

    "in another Kickstarter campaign"

    In Kingdom Death, which is awesome and which you should buy:
    http://kingdomdeath.com because the miniatures are increibly disturbing in a good way

    "while the Fate Core KS was underway, Zak and James Raggi and a few others decided that meant I was the devil and tried to get a boycott of the Fate Core KS rolling."

    Zak and Raggi and the woman who wrote this post who I have been accused of ignoring (and am ignoring in this sentence) and a few others pointed out I was attacking Kingdom Death, then refusing to engage the debate about my attack and then asked why anybody would buy Fate since I'm a hit-and-run asshole.

    "For the next year or so afterwards Zak seemed to make a point of showing up in conversations I was having with other people online to sneer and indicate I was a "prude". "

    Zak helpfully pointed out I talked smack on Kingdom Death, then refused to discuss the issues raised. He pointed this out using the most obvious explanation, since my attack had a long babbling bit about every game designer's responsibility to protect my kids from creepy horror games.

    "(Oh, Zak, I know I don't push boundaries as far as you do, but I thoroughly am not. Concern about sexism in the imagery of gaming is not an indication of prudery."

    Pretending a game of horror fiction solely for adults can even be "sexist" just because the author is interested in tentacles and boobs is an indication of prudery, but it's not hip to be a prude so I am engaging in a classic Petitio Principii/ Begging the Question fallacy by assuming the very sexism my claim requires I prove.

    " But the chance to discuss that in a calm and frank way was never afforded.)"

    Because I, Fred Hicks, never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever answered any questions Zak or the woman who wrote this article I am linking to (a woman who produced her own tentacle-rape porn) asked me. Or that anyone else did, and instead I made a feeble "I am allowed to attack people, but for my own mental health need to not answer questions brought on by my attacks" defense.

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  20. ..more…


    " I had really hoped it would blow over;"

    I hoped I would be able to ignore the issue I raised

    "that we could find a way to interact pleasantly; but it was clear that taking a posture that didn't defend or celebrate sexism in the imagery of games meant I was on the permanent enemy list."

    I am repeating my Begging The Question argument because I am a terrible human being.

    "It made me sad. I'd hoped we'd at least get along, distantly or whatever, two gamers from the Internet. Folks I respect have said good things about Zak and the work he's done. I've certainly seen some of the good there too."

    Either:
    I have to have to demonstrate sympathy for Zak in order for my attempt to co-opt this attack on me by Zak's girlfriend to not ring hollow
    and/or
    Zak's basically so self-evidently awesome, even to people I employ, that it would tank my rapidly-diminishing credibility to pretend otherwise

    "But it's mixed with some seriously toxic attitudes and behavior patterns that I think undermine that good."

    and by 'that good' I mean "me"

    "(Probably not as toxic as the Pundit's campaign of professional aggression, but Zak's been considerably less on my radar than the Pundit, so that may be a case of a simple lack of exposure.)"

    I am subtly suggesting Zak might be as crazy as the hyperbolic and obviously less rational person my friends and I have been lumping him in with since 5e came out

    "I've taken at worst a glancing blow from his +7 Mace of You're With Us Or You're Against Us, but I've seen folks who've been hit more directly. I understand the ire."

    DON'T WORRY: I ALSO HAVE SYMPATHY FOR YOU, MY CUSTO ...I MEAN READERS!

    "I get why he's occasionally suffering some consequences for his behavior. A number of those may well be deserved."

    I approve of libel. If you read this and libeled Zak, KEEP BUYING FATE PRODUCTS!!!!

    "The folks lined up to oppose him aren't all in the right either, tho,"

    Oh, wait, I'm supposed to be saying "listen to the feminist not 'listen to the total opposite of what the feminist said'

    "...and part of what made me really pull back from the conversations about the consultant thing was seeing how neither side was behaving particularly well"

    AH THAT'S IT! I'M ABOVE IT ALL. A PLAGUE ON BOTH THEIR HOUSES

    "(I'm talking about each side in total, here, not about individuals; person by person it varies widely)."

    NOT MANDY'S HOUSE, THOUGH…even though she agrees with the things Zak did and what he said about me because all of it is true and I want a plague on Zak's house.

    "Anyway. Mandy's post is worth reading. Doubt it'll change many minds, but hers isn't a voice to ignore simply due to the company she keeps, or her gender, or anything else about her. "

    Fred Hicks is a good feminist. Fred Hicks is a good feminist. Fred Hicks is a good feminist. Buy FATE. Fred Hicks is a good feminist. Fred Hicks is a good feminist.

    https://plus.google.com/+FredHicks/posts/h4ieFn1AxTx

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  21. I've tried to reply to this post 3 times now. All I can offer is my sympathy and mutual disgust at the witchy-burny, hate-cliquey garbage. Bleh.

    How someone can believe that hate-trolling is acceptable based on some fabricated moral high ground is beyond me.

    I at least find value in what you folks do! Screw them.

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  22. If it's any help, it's not personal. These people are just bullies and they live everywhere on the Internet - mainly on Twitter - and can be found spewing their textual puke on every topic from politics to stamp collecting. There's no genuine thought behind it; when they were kids they probably picked on the kid that needed glasses or had a hip disease or whatever. If you're different, you're a target and that's just what they do. What the target is, and what they do to try to make them feel bad isn't important. What's important is that they get to make someone else feel bad, which "proves" that the bully is strong which makes them happy.

    They're just arse-wipes and no amount of discussion will make any difference to them.

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  23. I just want to say to you Zak that reading your blog and watching your incredibly creative approach to DMing in IHWMA is what inspired me to step behind the screen to start being a DM myself and bring new players from all walks of life to the Hobby. I owe you and your group a debt I can never repay so I say simply thank you.

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  24. I would post to Mandy's Tumblr but my phone is being difficult...but this post is an eloquent explanation of all the mishegas that has gone on before the 5e stuff in fact it goes all the way back to this blog's first post.

    And while Zak and his strong opinions may be the primary target of all the rpg nerd ire, it's really always been about the women.

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  25. Thank you for the sight. I'd wondered why the tone had been so defensive for so long. (worried even).

    I must live in a charmed little world. Most of my players for the past...geez...'98? have been women. Never experienced any of that sort of awful.

    I'd probably be defensive too. (and angry I imagine).

    You're getting a lot of positive comments here, I hope that helps.

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  26. Zak, there's been some complaints about Mandy's post. There might be a case for changing/correcting a name; regardless of their conduct https://plus.google.com/110788823880804589168/posts/i8uhqGT7JZW

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