In light of current events

So, I’ve been spending probably way too much time on social media of late.  It’s a horrible time waster, but it’s just one of those things that seems to fill that “time to kill” between tasks.  Lately, I’ve seen a rash of testimonial articles about women trying to get involved in my assorted hobbies: video games, board games, tabletop war games and RPGs.  The horrible things these women express in terms of sexual harassment, sexual assault and overall disrespect.  I’ve seen mention of this happening at local game stores, conventions… even by volunteers who are supposed to represent a company by showcasing their product in public venues.

Personally, I haven’t seen this in the years I’ve been running games for the public at conventions, but that certainly doesn’t mean this doesn’t occur.  I’ve certainly run into my share of problem players over the years, so I know the socially awkward stereotype people associate with our hobby has a grain of truth to it.  But there is awkwardness and there is simple, blatant ignorance.

I’d like to think that I’m a very liberal and tolerant gamemaster.  I love having women at my table.  In many ways, I find them to be superior gamers.  They way they think their way through a problem is totally different from the way a man will.  And you can slice this any way you think of it.  A White player vs. a Black player vs. an Asian player.  A straight vs. homosexual vs. trans player…

Who gives a shit?

Every player has had different life experiences than the next, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, sexual alignment… we’re all people who love to tell a good story.  We all have a different way of telling it.  Every person who wants to sit down at a table to roll dice, move pieces and have a good time, has as much right to be there as anyone else.  This is the 21st century, dammit.  This is the fucking future… leave your discrimination behind.  We’re all creative individuals, who build whole worlds in our imaginations and leave reality behind to indulge in feats of heroism.  If the games we build and play in are expansive and inclusive, so should our community.

My home group is blessed with more women than most groups will ever see.  I have players from all walks of life.  I’ve participated in Conventions all over the Toronto area, the Ottawa area, even in the US.  The players I have seen, for the most part, have been fantastic.  But I have talked to women at some of the Toronto conventions who have told me personal stories… stories that would shatter people’s pre-conceived notions of Canadians.  I hate that things like these happen… role playing games are a big part of the man I am today.  I went from being a silent introvert, to the social dystopian misfit that’s been churning out Shadowrun for over 15 years now greatly due to this wonderful hobby busting me out of my shell.  I love sharing my passion for the game, so when I hear stories like these it pains me.

Today, Randall Bills, one of the big wigs at Cataylst, took a stand against this kind of behaviour and I stand with him.  If you are at my table, whether in a private game or at a convention, and you pull any of this kind of crap that is a thinly veiled innuendo to a player, through pseudo-in-character actions, I will kick you from my game and report you to the venue.  I have no patience for misogyny or prejudice aimed at a player.  In games like Shadowrun, I realize that racism and hatred are part of the setting, but there are lines that cannot be crossed.

I hope that other GMs will adopt a similar stance to my own.  Welcome women without hitting on them.  Run games in venues where you’ll attract new players.  Experience something new by seeing how different players approach previously run material.

I know many won’t… and I hope that when a player runs into one of these GMs, that they reach out to community and try again.  Not every GM is so close-minded… the right group is out there.

The community will be better for your perseverance.

My 2¥… not sure it’s coherent, but there it is.

J.

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~ by 1nsomniac on April 7, 2016.

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