Is there an idiot in any village who trusts Little Finger?
Yes there is. Without people trusting Little Finger, King Robert's first Hand of the King wouldn't have been poisoned, Brandon wouldn't have been subject to that assassination attempt, the Lannisters wouldn't have been blamed for it, Ned Stark wouldn't have failed to take the throne from Geoffrey and then been decapitated, Sansa wouldn't have married a sadist, there'd have been no wars after the death of King Robert and there'd be no Game of Thrones.
There are not only idiots in villages who trust Little Finger, you could populate a village with the people who trusted Little Finger.
In the tabletop RPG community, the role of Little Finger--"Grasper from a minor house with a talent for befriending powerful men and women"--is played by Olivia Hill. If you've gotten through Chapter One, you already know better than to trust Olivia Hill, repeatedly proven liar and noted abuser.
Other fingers on the same little hand include Olivia's friends at Something Awful /tg, the trpg-troll subforum of the general-troll site that was responsible for spawning 4chan, which was founded by an alleged abuser. which doesn't have rules against lying, which is decried as a troll playground even by members of the hatemobs associated with it, which automatically changes the word "rape" to "surprise sex" for nomembers, whose members admit they're trolls and call themselves "goons", and whose members sent messages like "get raped and murdered" to me and mine, doxxed gamers in the literal names-and-addresses-sense, and whose tabletop forum moderator Paul Matijevic aka Ettin recently had to give me money and publicly apologize for lying about abuse after getting sued.
It would be hard to find human beings in the entire tabletop RPG community who have openly been caught red-handed lying more often and more egregiously than Olivia and the Something Awful goons.
The village is called RPGnet.
When Last We Left...
The American contingent of the Vampire 5e team, who were at that point supposed to be the kernel of the creative end of the project, were flying back from Stockholm after meetings at Paradox headquarters. On Friday in Stockholm, we'd been negotiating contracts but by the time we left, they still weren't signed. While the actual next edition of the RPG was as-yet unannounced, in the following week, me and Sarah Horrocks' Vampire video game (We Eat Blood and All Our Friends Are Dead) was released.
Our corner of the Internet went haywire.
Olivia Hill's major professional connection to the RPG industry was working with Onyx Path, the company that had been sublicensing White Wolf material for the last few decades while the property was out of action (mostly pdfs if I understand correctly). As soon as Olivia Hill heard that...
-the new White Wolf was putting material out,
-they didn't ask her, and
-they did ask me
...she threw a fit.
My understanding is Onyx Path's licensing deal meant Wolf had veto power over Path's projects. I don't know whether Olivia quit Onyx Path when she heard I was on the game or whether she'd been told via Path that White Wolf wasn't going to ok any of her projects (they didn't like her work, remember) so she might as well stop submitting pitches. What I do know is Little Finger quickly went over to the Onyx Path forums and claimed I had sent death-threats to her kids. Specifically she said I e-mailed a photo of her kid's school to her.
She didn't provide even a redacted, blurred or anonymized image of said email.
She didn't say why she thought it was me.
She didn't say how I'd have any idea where her kids went to school.
She didn't say how this was supposed to help me (after all, if anything happened it's not like her friends in the RPG community would harass me less at that point).
And, most importantly for this story: nobody asked. I could never figure that out. Someone in elfgames is accusing a colleague of a fucking felony. Why are people trusting Little Finger?
But this is the internet: if you lie brazenly for 20 years, you're left with a fanbase of people defined by the fact they never doubt anything, no matter how extreme. In August 2020, Olivia once claimed I used quotes from my "victims" as cover copy on the back of my books. I don't have that many books out, this would've been so easy to check yet none of her fans do, nobody went "Uh, hey...um...". Yeah. The Internet.
It spread from the Onyx Path forums to RPGnet. Within 48 hours I'd received the first of many physical threats...
The other Something Awful goons were backing up Hill and busy trotting out their anti-old school gamer conspiracy theories, the new one was from a straight, cis-, white Something Awful goon named Jay Allen aka @a_man_in_black (aka I think "Winson Paine" on Something Awful) and he said the mobile game was transphobic. The game that I got Sarah Horrocks a job co-writing and co-drawing, that had a friend character based on Bailey Jay with her blessing, that had a second friend who was trans based on Morgana Ignis, and a game whose final draft I sent in to White Wolf from Scrap Princess' living room...
...that game. Sarah's and my game. Was transphobic. There are GDC panels on lgbt representation with less trans input than this fucking game. Here's definitely-also-trans Natalie Reed on it, talking in my DMs....
It was the stupidest and most transparent goon lie in the history of goons lying.
And it was spread by people who had repeatedly openly admitted to being dishonest. On the internet. Publicly. Over and over. For a decade.
You couldn't even justify these claims via Olivia Hill since this was long before her transition or any public discussion of it. Later on Olivia Hill would get thrown off RPGnet (for doxxing, which is a bit like Al Capone getting arrested for tax evasion--by Tony Soprano) and over the years most of the more prominent people who spread these conspiracy theories have admitted they knew they weren't true. And of course Ettin got successfully sued for shit like this.
But none of the mattered at the time.
When a piece of intellectual property is in limbo for 20 years, anyone wanting to revive it would do well to be very sensitive to the temperature of whatever remaining fanbase that IP has.
Because of the timing of the White Wolf explosion in the '90s, many of the folks who worked with the World of Darkness would go on to form the gatekeeping backbone of the online RPG scene as it coalesced a decade later when everyone was getting on the internet. RPGnet has strong White Wolf ties, Steve Wieck of DrivethruRPG had been a White Wolf guy, Nicole Lindroos of Green Ronin used to work on WoD, Allen Varney of the indie-RPG charity bundle/moneycow Bundle of Holding was a White Wolf guy, etc. Even James Maliszewski of Grognardia used to work for the Wolf. White Wolf cared what the relatively small online diaspora thought because they were the only people whom the company was sure still cared about the tabletop version of Vampire--this base had to form the launchpad for their next move into the tabletop or video game space.
At the beginning of the weekend after Olivia Hill launched her smear campaign WW publicly issued a statement reminding the public they'd done an investigation of me long before (which was very easy, because all theses accusations were about online stuff) and knew they were bullshit and at the end of the weekend White Wolf privately let me know there was just too much online harassment and I was being taken off the Vampire 5e team. I hadn't yet drawn a line or typed a word.
Little Finger and the hatemob had completely derailed Head Creative Swede's plans for Vampire 5e and didn't even know it.
Interesting ironies here: just when Olivia Hill was at her most alienated from the online game scene and complaining hardest about how WW had implied in their statement that Olivia and co were lying (because they were) Olivia had, totally unknowingly, actually scored the greatest victory of her career. A further irony is that since she'd always been better at getting people to dogpile on to her acts of destruction than support her acts of creation...
...this secret career apex was a negative one.
The Wolf were worried that the online conversation on launch would be too much about Zak and not enough about the game and that would kneecap it. While you can see the logic, it didn't work.
Sarah Horrocks, for her part, decided to never work in games again, I said Fuck it I'll make my own game! With blackjack! And tarot cards! and started Demon City...