Friday, August 1, 2014

How Dungeons And Dragons Is Totally Not Endorsing The Darkest Parts The RPG Community At All Even Though There's Some Tumblr Panic That It Is

Thank you, Actual Journalist and Actual Feminist Molly Crabapple

So, conservative game blogger Tom Hatfield ( @wordmercenary on twitter ) wrote a lot of things that aren't true
He looks familiar, right?
Why didn't an actual news site take your story, oh Mercenary? Probably because of all the ways you fucked it up. Let's count them--but, in counting them, let's also take this opportunity to look back at a great many years of posts in D&D With Porn Stars that Tom The Word Mercenary clearly did not.

Why This A Win-Win For You, Reader

If you've read all of the posts from this blog I'm linking to below, you already know Tom the Word Mercenary is talking out of his or some friend's butt--and you can skip this post entirely. Go grab some random tables off the Dozen.

If you haven't, it's almost as if these links to old but relevant posts are me writing a whole bunch of new posts about something other than embarrassing the hell out of a terrible writer today and you get to read them.

Special Note For RPGnet: Now the biggest complaint against me is that I made a list of people who endorsed a lie about rape threats. The stupid theory is that I did this to shame, embarrass or bully people into rescinding their endorsement. I had no such hopes: I did it to warn my friends that nobody on that list should be trusted because they just will endorse shit without evidence.

So, let's romp!

Let's watch Tom the Word Mercenary turn this into a conspiracy...

It starts with a simple fact-checking laziness I would've gotten fired for back when I was an unpaid intern:

Dude. Seriously.

(4e stands for "Fourth Edition". Like, of D&D. Also a big 5e fan--having worked on it. Those are the two newest editions which, to be fair, Tom The Word Mercenary may not have known since he apparently doesn't know about Google.)

#3 "Zak S is famous for two things: Playing D&D with pornstars, both on his blog and for a little while in a web series for the Escapist, and being banned from half the major RPG communities on the net for derailing any and all discussion about diversity and discrimination."
This is my blog

This is my blog. Also my drawing.
This is my blog
Click to enlarge the actual awesome thing I said that got me banned from RPGnet
and here's a feminist takedown of RPGnet's bullshit

…and I got banned from Story-Games for pointing out Wundergeek was a repulsive bigot

#4 "Zak...spends all his time derailing conversations on sexism"
This is my blog

#5 "...defending sexists…."
(yep, my blog again)
This is my game group

"Whatever could be the matter with this door?" said Alice.
"It is being held shut by Zak. He has no other entertainments." said the Mercenary
"Wait, the Zak that drew me?" said Alice

Click to enlarge the extent of Tom Hatfield's failure.
And get a preview of Red & Pleasant Land.

#7 "...anyone who criticised the pair found themselves subjected to harassment, abuse and real world stalking…"
This is an unrelated bat picture from a book I'm doing.

So where does all this talk of harassment come from? … Let's see...

So: anyone but Zak stepping up to defend Zak is "harassment". 
Keeping score?
Obscure + lying: not harassment.
Famous+ telling the truth: harassment.
Famous + lying: not harassment.

#8 "What they do is point out targets and refuse to admonish their fans when they step over the line."

(I wrote that)(In public)

#9 " the choice of victim that is the most telling. These attacks nearly always target women and LGTBQ individuals…"
Targeting for hugs, maybe?

The sole documented incident of Zak S harassing a trans person

"The years of trolling I did before I changed my screen-name don't count!"

…the end of Marshall's statement was too long too fit, but you can check it here --and +1 while you're at it

#11 "...Zak’s business model revolves around publically being a jerk. He is, quite literally, a career bully…"
…also a porn actor, but I figured that was implied. And it is the Post so, y'know….

#12 "...Zak was publicly speaking on Mearls’ behalf,…"

Do you see "On behalf of Mike Mearls?" I don't see that. Tom The Word Mercenary, do you see that? Tom The Word mercenary what are you on? Are there secret drugs given only to Mercenaries?

Maybe eating a sandwich before we take Mandy her new wheelchair is a "run-in"? I dunno, ask Tom The Word Mercenary.

In 2013 I discovered the secret best way to destroy homosexuals is to help them snuggle.
Soon, my pet…

ProTip: Best way to keep women out of the RPG hobby is to invite any woman reading your blog to take it over. Three times. The fourth time, they will turn into an apple tree and furnish only bitter fruit.

I do apologize for how gauche it is to trot out the LGBT and POC players in your game group to defend yourself against hating them, but there's only one person I've personally introduced to D&D who isn't LGBT or a POC or both so, y'know, I have nobody else to trot out.

Like seriously: what are you supposed to do when you're accused of being racist by a group, dozens-strong, that has less people of color in it than your actual home game group (5)?

Maybe I just hate secretly everyone. Except Adam, the white guy who plays a wizard. 
(Meet me behind the boathouse Adam.)


And, in the end you may be wondering, what exactly do Tom the Word Mercenary and the Something Awful goons and monocle-droppers he sourced his article from have on me after 3 weeks of looking for dirt?

If you have something, I urge you: go to the police. Go to Wizards of the Coast, the D&D company. Please do unmask and reveal my empire of hate and crime. It will be a pip for us to hear all about it.

Oh, wait, what's that? The evidence! Yeah. It's shit like that.

As any real journalist will tell you: if you're in danger, get the cops. If you're not--own your statements.

Y'know what'll be cited as "evidence" of harassment? This. The fact that I took Tom the Word Mercenary's public post and publicly pointed out the public mistakes he made publicly. Which is like what Tom did to me, only true and documented with links quotes and pictures to back it up.

When people claim to be "victims of harassment" that's usually what they mean: "Zak typing my name because and after I typed his name".

And what, pray tell, do we have on Tom The Word Mercenary's friends? Well this dork stalking my friend Kiel, for instance...
Empathy means never asking if maybe you're just one of the statistically inevitable percentage of trolling dickwheels 6 years of talking about D&D and pornography simultaneously will stir up.

Here's the aforementioned Tracy Hurley and RPGnet moderator's (author of the RPGnet hit piece above) Paul Matijevic/Paul Ettin's conspiracy theory about how I managed to do all this secretly in Google Plus circles without a shred of evidence….
…which is strange because if all he's saying is I make posts like this (where I point out someone's a dick and someone should ask them questions), then that seems a lot less like harassment than what happens on the Something Awful forum:
So here's someone actually organizing harassment. Someone should tell a moderator! Who is it that moderates this forum? Let's scroll down…
Why it's our old pal, Paul! So, yeah, there goes the "Moderators Are Impartial Referees" theory here.

So Tom and friends are using creep tactics. I'm just pointing out he's an asshole.

Luckily Tom the Word Mercenary is not the world's sole source of news. Here are some people who actually did their homework before posting words where people could read them:

Janis Lily
Shea Kauffman on how Tom the Mercenary is weaponizing marginalized people...

J.T. Seusoff

Jeff Rients

Annah Madrinan (now getting mansplained at by some pro-Tom Hatfield douche)

Bleeding Cool

Rob Monroe

Kat Fisher

Stacey Dellorfano

James Raggi

Ms Kamikaze Kitten


Jensen Toperzer

Alex Mayo

Tom K

Andrew Tran at

Jeff Russell

The Alexandrian

Wild Die

Patrick Stuart

Gary Mengle

Kirin Robinson

Doug Anderson



John Austin

Richard G like whoa

Seebs like triple whoa

Seebs again completely ripping the piece to shreds on every front after getting pushback.

and, the coup-de-grace:

Seebs actually discovering a theory of the crime underlying why people had convinced themselves all this was necessary.

And, as always, actual real journalist and fellow thief, Molly Crabapple:

You want the truth? Right there. The whole mess.


Goalpost-shifting scoreboard so far--

-Zak is a bigot and harasses all LGBTS and POCs in the hobby
(disproved, moved to…)
-Zak is not a bigot but harasses all LGBTS and POCs in the hobby
(disproved, moved to…)
-Zak harasses like maybe some LGBTs and POCs in the hobby
(disproved, moved to…)
-Zak incites people to harass some LGBTSs and POCs in the hobby
(unproved, moved to…)
-Zak quotes some LGBTs and POCs in the hobby which makes other people harass them
(unproved, moved to…)
-Zak quotes some LGBTs and POCs in the hobby which might've made some other people harass them
(unproved, moved to…)
-Zak quotes people who troll and attack him and insults them which might've made some other people harass the trolls and never said don't do that
(disproved, moved to…)
-Zak quotes people who troll and attack him and insults them….aaaand that's unprofessional
(vague, moved to…)
-Zak treats people who claim to be professional game designers who attack him out of nowhere better than they treat him but...that's still unprofessional because…ummm…because…..
(ineffective, moved to)
-Zak doesn't care about trolls' sad troll feelings
Guilty as charged.
(oh, wait, incoming goalpost movement….)
As of august 4th, 2014 the goalposts are at:"Zak has admitted to not wanting trolls around".
-Zak S, Zak S, Zak S, Zak S, Zak S, Zak S, Zak S, Zak S, Zak S, Zak S, Zak S, Zak S, Zak S, Zak S, 
Zak S

Courtesy Matthew Adams


Adam Obelisk said...

Aww, Zak! I'm in not-secret-hate with you too. Hieing my cis-gendered, lily-white ass to the boathouse now.

Adam Thornton said...

Aww, Zak! I thought maybe you meant _me_. Now I am sad.

arcadian said...

Comprehensive as usual. I must profess bewilderment at this kurfuffle, which I must chalk up to standard nerd operating procedure: jealousy, lack of cultural empathy in regards to sexual matters, and a lack of tolerance for those who state strong opinions strongly. I don't always agree with your method of discourse( being a mild mannered Midwesterner), but I think its honest and consistent. Love your work too.

I'm just glad WoTC seems to be staying above this shitbaggery.

maasenstodt said...

By exposing these goons in the brilliant way that you have been doing, I think you're helping to teach people the importance of critical thinking, that being a goon has consequences, and a bunch of other good things.

Thank you for that.

Shawn Kilburn said...

Hey Zak, you don't know me from all the other Shawns out there, but I just want to say that I think you're fighting the good fight. Your blog is so full of awesome ideas, and I love it that you're doing an Alice in Wonderland-themed book (that I intend to buy posthaste as soon as it's available).

Also, your blog was one of the things that inspired me to run my own little game after having not done that for 20+ years.

I just wanted to say thanks. I don't understand why people are so down on you, but it's not right.

Just trying to balance out the bullshit you have to wade through with some positivity, I guess.


Erin Palette said...

I've said it on G+ but I'll say it here: I came out to Zak about being Genderqueer (which isn't exactly the same thing as trans; let's call it diet trans) and he was perfectly okay with me.

Oakes Spalding said...

What makes Hatfield a "conservative" game blogger?

Rob Monroe said...

Oakes: Zak doesn't usually use the word "conservative" the same way that many people do. While Hatfield may be described as liberal by most people, Zak is focusing on Hatfield's apparent fondness for thought-policing, which is a "conservative" behavior.

Alec Henry said...

1. Thank you for linking to all those awesome posts of yours. I am still new to your blog and working my way through all the fantastic content you have.

2. You have shown a new light on many creators of games I enjoy (primarily Fred Hicks). While I didn't really follow these people beforehand and will probably still play games like Fate, it has made me question how much I should continue to endorse their opinions by buying their stuff.

3. You are the main reason I have gained interest in OSR. I bought Vornheim because I liked your art style and I play RPG's. Now I have a group of Fate gamers who I've convinced to try D&D 5e in a couple months (most having never played anything resembling D&D). So thank you for opening my mind to this whole other land of gaming.

Harvicus said...

Zak, though I normally tend to just lurk, I really wanted to wish you all the best. I for one was excited to see your name in the credits for the new edition. I hope this whole situation ends soon and you get all the respect you deserve.

Following all these links and reading the articles on your site lately has exposed you and your friends as good people with amazing friendships and loves. You have a wonderfully rich life, I guess it is (sadly) inevitable that people would try to attack you to bring you down.

Oakes Spalding said...

Thanks. That's what I figured.

1d30 said...

Sorry to hear you have to go through all this Zak :/
At least it sounds like many of the people promulgating the kerfuffle were honestly misinformed.

Unknown said...

if he is a word mercenary can I hire him to say: "fart solution"? Thanks again for fighting big purple zak. I was actually really hurt when I got banned for 'gay bashing'. and again when I was accused of 'stalking'.

Matrox Lusch said...

2008 was a weird year for me, but I remember nascent battle-lines seeming to be drawn over "Supplement IV: Carcosa" where strife was fermented against James Raggi III et al. The unfounded worry was that an army of Patricia Pulling-simulacra would convince John Q. Public gamers are occultists or something like that. "Remember what happened in the 80's!" LotFP ultimately found its deserved niche of success, resulting in a subconscious (or not) professional jealousy against folks reaping rewards for ideas outside the boundaries of "polite" D&D. Commentary degenerated into diffuse personal attacks targeting James and Zak. I know a few old grognard/neckbeard buddies who are just plugged into the SF bay area RPG community (as opposed to the online/blog) who somehow made the ontological(?) link that Carcosa=Bad, James=Worse, Zak=Well we just don't like his "brand" of D&D, or Zak's "crowd" down in LA. All this without reading Carcosa or anything actually written by James or Zak. (I actually was becoming pretty enamored with Zak's blog at this point in 2010 or so, and pitching the blog to all my D&D friends) Manufactured feverish panic over Zak's credit on 5e is the penultimate piece of this narrative and Zak's post today ought to put the whole episode to rest. Thanks and keep up the good work. I am envious and inspired by your talents!

Nagora said...

Well, that's a lot of effort to respond to someone who's of no significance whatsoever, especially since he's going to pretend he didn't hear you anyway.

I can only guess that this dickhead is trying to drum up some notoriety by "taking on" someone who is actually making and doing stuff that people like and value.

Socrates_Is_Mortal said...

Schadenfreude and a picture of a cool new monster, the Zakess. Sweet.

Steven said...

I'm sorry you have to put up with this. I've been in awe that this kind of unsupported accusation has gained so much momentum that it needs you to continue defending yourself. I've read your blog for a few years and I found the accusations range from unlikely to laughably absurd. Best of luck. I hope this all blows over soon.

Marshall Burns said...

I got into an argument with Zak once. He was mean and aggressive and he hurt my feelings. I'm LGBTQ (specifically genderqueer and pansexual) and Zak hurt my feelings. But he didn't do it _because_ I'm LGBTQ. For one thing, he almost certainly had no clue that I was. From what I can tell, he did it because he thought a) I was being condescending, and b) I was inadequately informed to debate on the topic I was debating.

With regards to a), I can say for sure that I didn't intend to be condescending, but folks have told me that I have problems with that (one of those folks was also an abusive partner that I had only recently escaped at the time, and that had more to do with how hurt my feelings got. But Zak had no way of knowing that "condescending" could be a trigger word for me unless he has psychic powers). With regards to b), he was basically right.

Soon after this argument, I plused a comment that called Zak an idiot, which was a shitty thing to do but made me feel better at the time. Zak later contacted me about it (which kinda freaked me out because all confrontation freaks me out because I have issues) and I apologized for it. Also shortly after that initial argument, I made a comment elsewhere that was basically tearing Zak down behind his back. I soon deleted it, because it was shitty and made me feel shitty. Zak, I owe you an apology for that one too, even if I deleted it and even if you never saw it. I'm sorry.

I've been reflecting a lot over this whole debacle. The accusations made against Zak are based on issues that personally matter to me, so it's been important to me to read up and think hard. Zak, it's clear to me that the only beef I've ever had with you is due to my own inability to handle confrontation, and it's obviously not your responsibility to coddle me. And the people lined up against you (some of which I've associated with) have plummeted in my estimation due to their recent behavior (the article you so hilariously dismantle here, and various people's endorsements of it, was pretty much the last straw).

Given that I've behaved shittily toward you in the past, I thought I owed it to you to say all this, and publicly. For what it's worth, I'm cool with you.

2097 said...

First of all, where is that Poenari except from? Recognize the image from the Fiend Folio project. I love Vornheim so I’m looking forward to more books.

Secondly, your banning from thing.
Yes, it sucks to not have you there --- it's scary posting there because some of the admins there don't have my trust. Some do, but some don't.
I disagree with them that you should be permanently banned there.
That post you made was great:
“Nothing to do with content and everything to do with a social environment”
I agree. The culture is the problem.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t ever discuss or think about the content. The thread was about discussing the specific text on this specific page in Numenera and what problems it led to. Someone likened it to a succubus and you were one of those who turned it into a discussion about succubi and similar creatures in general, complete with leather wings and fantasy tropes. That doesn't apply to Monte’s creature, the Nibovian Wife. It has no leather wings. It looks normal.

This is what I’m not saying: “Oh what a thought crime, it should not be written!”
This is what I’m not saying: “Oh this will cause people here in the real world to treat women badly.”
This is what I am saying: “I don’t want to play role-playing games in that game world because of the larger diegetic implications of such a creature.”
I.e. every woman will be suspected of Nibovian behaviour.
This is what I am also saying: “The particular turns of phrase and word choices remind me of how sexists write”. I admit this is a vague proposition. Hence it was secondary to the diagetic implications and I’d be willing to drop it. The way it was written made me angry but my anger is not an argument.

Anyway the accusation wasn’t: “You are writing untrue and bad things.” You weren’t. It was “You are changing the topic”. You were, when you were arguing for the bat winged ladies. Which I realize someone else is to blame for since they called it a succubus in the first place which you latched on to.

I’m sorry to bring this up again, since it’s only a minor side-thing in this whole debacle and since you have been prohibited from going back there and defending yourself and I get that it’s frustrating. I just wanted to bring a new perspective on the topic.

Cook also put the paragraph about psychosexual disorders in the Unearthed Arcana. Which I think he regrets. But look it up and be angry at him for a while if you want to. I know I still am.

2097 said...

And also hell yes I am scared of Pundit and some of his friends! But the same goes for the SA goons. The RPG community has became a Scylla + Charybdis situation and I hate this "war".

Chance said...

The kind of people who have been harrassing you are the reason so many people have such low opinions of gamers in general . Keep on calling them on thier BS ! I like what you do and so do lots of people.

Mick a said...

Kudos to you and your group Zak. Until yesterday I hadn't heard about any of what's gone on and I feel ashamed that there are people in the hobby I enjoy who are so low and odious to attack others in such a way.

Zak S said...

thanks Marshall--that's big of you

Zak S said...

Poenari is in the upcoming Red & Pleasant Land.

I think making too big a deal of this kind of thing...:
"This is what I am also saying: “The particular turns of phrase and word choices remind me of how sexists write”."
…ends up creating an environment policing creativity in a really bad way for artists. Esp. considering the role of a female erotica writer like Shanna Germain is involved ESPECIALLY on RPGnet.

It is basically lighting a torch and holding over a pile of 90 othe torches next to a mob.

The accusation against me on RPGnet was insane. I was responding directly to sentences typed by other people (often mods) to me. So I could not possibly be derailing if they were not.

Zak S said...

theRPGsite was pretty much an insane shitshow for me until RPGnet started regularly fucking with me, then they starting warming up to me.

Then Tom Hatfield lied about me in public while my girlfriend was in the hospital having a feeding tube in and pretty much they're very nice all the time now.

So I don't blame you for not wanting to walk that gauntlet. Try Google +.

Alan Harrison said...

I really really appreciate subversions of the linear political paradigm. Thank you for pointing that out.

2097 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
2097 said...

I'm stoked for Red & Pleasant Land.

Zak S said...

If the book was otherwise awesome but had a passage that said “BTW, it’s important to...”
“The particular turns of phrase and word choices remind me of ….

I can't imagine why anyone of good faith would conflate them.

One is an explicit statement of evil, the other is trivia.

So either:
-"reminds me of" is not an accurate description of your response
-you are trying to say you were _triggered_ (ie reminded in a way that pushed beyond reason because of trauma)
-you are not making any sense with that comparison

Paul Pinkosh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Pinkosh said...

Zak, I spent 15 years of my life teaching people how to think critically, cite sources, and construct solid arguments. Your critics get an "F", but I give you an "A+". I am hoping this shitstorm will pass soon and you can get on back to your creative and critical work. Hang in there, friend

Revenant said...

No comment on all the haters (you should ignore 'em to death IMO).

I just wanted to say that I like that "Zakess" illustration a lot. :)

Zak S said...

Matthew Arnold is really good

2097 said...

I wasn’t trying to conflate them and I agree that there is a huge difference.
So “not making sense with the comparison” is probably the right conclusion.

I was drifting the conversation to dislike of particular works of art in general.
[BTW, I deleted the comment just because I thought I was moving too far away from the original topic, and that you would be too busy for that discussion right now; I saved the comment and can repost it if you like, but you’ve already read it so that’s good.]

When I read the Numenera page in question, I thought/felt “Whoever wrote this is probably evil”, but:
Am I right in interpreting you as making an important distinction between creating art/fiction that makes the reader believe/feel that the author is evil, vs explicitly saying something like “OK, let’s stop the fiction. I, the author, holds this-or-that evil view. OK, now back to the story”?

I agree, they are different.

What’s your take on the Unearthed Arcana passage, then? To me it seems more explicit and non-fictional.

2097 said...

I’d also keep the distinction between

1.“This fictional detail make me personally not want to spend my RPG time in this fictional world” such as the Nibovian Wife and the ritual in question in Carcosa, vs

2. “Wow, who wrote this seems pretty evil” such as how I felt when I read the Nibovian Wife, vs

3. Explicit statement “I, the author, hold evil views X Y and Z.” which doesn’t apply to Numenera or Carcosa. But we’ve both encountered evil views.

I agree that of the three, the second one is weakest by far and I tried to be clear about that.

I also agree that adding the “... and I want to alert others in case they feel like me” can quickly turn any one of the three into a mob with a chilling or policing effect.
And also some people can join that mob who are harmful.

Zak S said...

Ok, this reaction to FICTION:
"When I read the Numenera page in question, I thought/felt “Whoever wrote this is probably evil”, "
….is a fucked up reaction that is totally hostile to art in a democracy. Like you don't say that outside a psychiatrist's office. You realize "Ok, this is irrational andI need to analyze why I think that"

Now it's a valid _feeling_ (or as valid as any other feeling) but you immediately have to go "WHOA--I AM NOT THINKING RIGHT" . Like: that is an errant and bigoted thought to think and even worse to say out loud. It is only "valid" in the sense of you can't control it,not in that it's ok to say that out loud, like this:

"What’s your take on the Unearthed Arcana passage, then? To me it seems more explicit and non-fictional."

Don't remember it or haven't read it.

2097 said...

I tried to be clear that I realized that it wasn’t something anyone can build a case on.
But sure, it’s worthwhile to place extra emphasis on that, that it’s an emotion/thought and not a case.

Also, how about this, weirder case [unrelated to Carcosa and Numenera, it’s a hypothetical]: There is, to me, a separation between the content of the fiction and the phrasing of the fiction. If a black gay guy is depicted as a despicable criminal, it’s one thing. If the author casually uses slurs when describing the criminal, it’s another. I’m not saying it’s something that’s disallowed. I’m just saying the latter will more likely cause an emotional reaction of “Hey... is the guy who wrote this racist and even evil?”
And yes, as you say, such a reaction isn’t enough to warrant action. It’s still part of a fictional narrative, even if it’s the “frame” rather than the “picture”, so to speak.

I’m just saying that such an emotion will common enough, and not necessarily cause for incarceration in the “patient” who suffers it. As long as she picks up her monocle calmly and dutifully from the floor.

The Unearthed Arcana stuff is here. If you do wish to see it some day, search for “psychosexual disorders” on that page.

Zak S said...

I don't think it's at all cool or conducive to creativity to speculate about the author (especially in an insulting way) publicly based on a fiction unless you're doing a full-on researched critical biography.

In the RPG-reviewin' context, it's creepy and always leads to bad things. Just _ask the fucking author_ if you're so obsessed with what they themselves are like/

Zak S said...

I think "psychosexual disorders: nymphomania/sadism" is probably a case where you're more sensitive to the literality of the word "disorder" than the (likely intensely kinky) person who wrote it.
But WHY SPECULATE? I can just ask Monte, that's the grown up thing to do!

2097 said...

Ok, I think I get it.

I originally put the focus more on the diegetic implications than the author's own person. I now see that I should put my focus only there, not “more” there.

The Arcana example was part of this confusion, the line between what is “inside the game world” and what is statements akin to the evil “BTW, it’s important to...”.

Thanks for the clarification.

coderodent said...

I had a similar reaction to the Nibovian Wives. I did write on Gplus asking Cook or Germain to comment or explain how they envisioned the monster working in the gaming environment. No answer thus far.

I'm not saying it should be censored. I am saying that it seems like a bad rule to include in the game.

Zak S said...

I think by that logic, illusion powers in general would be a bad rule and they aren't.
But I can't speak for them.
I mean, it all falls under the general "Players tend to assume NPCs are evil" rule.

coderodent said...

I don't follow.

How do you get from a reskinned succubus to illusion powers in general?

Or am I missing something deeper?

Zak S said...

You're missing everything.
If the fear of an Nwife in the gaming environment is that it makes players distrust all women in game simply because it pretends to be harmless then ALL ILLUSION POWERS can be used by all creatures to perform the same trick thus making players distrust all NPCs.

Which they do already.

coderodent said...

Oh. No I wasn't thinking about the players. They do whatever they want anyway.

I was thinking of the logical consequences of that kind of monster and it's effect on the societies in the game.

PCs can mistrust everyone; but the human NPC societies will become deeply disturbing with this.

Zak S said...

Only if everyone thinks the creature is common and if about a thousand assumptions that you're making.

And only if the GM is willing to inflict that same logic on their game.

seebs said...

The issue with the psychosexual disorders is further down the page. The point where I think people get mad: "Recognizable disorders of this type include transsexualism (a belief that one is actually a member of the opposite sex)". Also an assertion that disorders in this category are likely uncomfortable for players, but could make for striking (if unpleasant) NPCs.

Yeah, that's a pretty shitty thing to put in a book, MHO. I have no real knowledge of the circumstances or who wrote it or why or what they meant, though.

Casey said...

When I first heard that there was some controversy I looked up this Zak S. character to see what kind of terrible person got used as a consultant. When I found your site I was confused. I had been to your site before, read comments from you, and have you in my G+ circle. "Oh this guy (with incredulity), I think those people must be full of crap." You may rub some people the wrong way but I value the brutal honesty you serve up. Good luck during you continued fight against the uninformed masses of the internet. Loved the article and the number of well documented items, it really shows the difference between what you say and vague, nonspecific accusations. Sorry if this is a duplicate but I think I did it wrong the first time.

Philipp Neitzel said...

Why do we have to have this thing instead of a regular edition war?
Usually when a new edition of D&D comes out it is about the difference in rules and playstyles, maybe design philosophies. But the personal level of attacks we have instead really is exhausting.

Anon K. Adderlan said...

I hate to be cynical, but this sounds like they warmed up to you after they found you were an example that supported their agenda. At this point you're the one doing the most to stick it to the people they hate, and in the best position to do so, so I can see why they'd want to cultivate that. I left after finding far too many people interested in tearing people down as opposed to building them up. Maybe things have changed.

Zak S said...

@deleted troll
You're not allowed to lie on this page.
However, you are allowed to follow this link to donate money to save the Icelandic Goat:

Devin Parker said...

So I've been out of the loop for a while and only learned about this whole thing by Googling stuff connected to D&D 5e (which I've really been enjoying, BTW), and all I can say after reading all of this is that anyone who's read your blog for any amount of time would know how utterly ridiculous these allegations are. I'm sorry you've been slandered by this nonsense (or is that 'libeled'? I can never remember).

Erin Palette said...


Slander is Spoken. (S)
Libel is written in a book, which belongs in a Library. (L)

John Matthew Stater said...

Don't let the bastards get you down.