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Saturday, August 1, 2015

A Red & Pleasant Land Wins 2 Gold, 2 Silver @ the ENNies and I Find Myself Agreeing With the RPG Pundit



A Red & Pleasant Land won 2 Gold & 2 Silvers at the ENnies last night. I'm not sure if that is a record, but it should be. It's great for Zak S, great for +James Raggi and awesome for the OSR. Not so awesome for Cam Banks and crew, who threw a tantrum and heckled when the first award for A Red & Pleasant Land was announced. Talk about assholes. Then the rest of the SJWs chimed in on Twitter. Well done. You showed them, didn't you? Zak might be a dick (my own opinion) but a Red & Pleasant Land was clearly the best of the five in all four categories it was nominated.

Real simple.

Or not.

+Kasimir Urbanski points out on his blog that Zak's own math showed that winning was an impossibility if folks only voted on what they had actually read.

Obviously, that didn't happen. Zak and James won 2 Golds and 2 Silvers.

What happened?

Social media happened. Ballot box stuffing happened. Cheating, legit or otherwise, happened to ensure the best product won, which just goes to show how irrelevant the ENnies are.

+Joseph Bloch said it best tho'. Wearing a "Zak S Saved D&D" t-shirt to a con with Cam Banks, Fred Hicks and the other SJWs in attendance might just be entertaining if only for their reactions. Shame they are fairly irrelevant. Or maybe that's a good thing.


63 comments:

  1. Important point: "... an impossibility if folks only voted on what they had actually read" should be "bought", not "read". People play things that they don't own, read things that they don't own... It's obviously very common in RPG to do that. People who played RPL with people who owned it, people who playtested it, people who read a friend's copy - these are all people who could've voted without buying.

    I, for example, have read but do not own RPL., and I voted.

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    1. Given the typical tabletop RPG group, at least how things were done when I was a wee lad, the ratio of books to players was something like 1:4 to 1:6. So if R&PL sold 3,000 it would have been exposed to 15,000 people.

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    2. printed is, however, not sold to the public

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    3. but PDFs get distributed among groups with some frequency, I've found -- a lot like sharing printed books.

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    4. This is true for some of my PDFs - my players read my printed-out copies of the books, they only purchase their own if they really feel like they need it. Or I'll get extras (especially if I'm the author) and just give them out. There will be those who buy books and don't read them, but equally there are more readers than sales.

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  2. I wonder if this suggests a lot of pirating going on, too? Somehow I doubt it....I think you're more likely accurate in that it shows the skew and irrelevance of the ENnies. I mean, I voted and since I did not own RaPL I didn't nominate it for anything. No one I know who even knows what the ENnies is had even heard of Zak let alone his book, so it strongly suggests some other metric at work here than "people who actually red and liked this book."

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  3. Does +Stacy Dellorfano not count as an SJW? I fail to see how these conspiracy theories are anything other than trolls trying to start fights.

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    1. The SJW crowd is not unified. She seems to be on the side that thinks Zak is okay, for example. There's another corner of the SJW crowd that want to crucify him for obscure reasons.

      She doesn't seem like a totally off person to me in general....dunno what crawled up her butt about Erik though. I mean, his post, all things considered, was pro feminism....but I guess it's not okay to even imply a guy might somehow be involved in the process of introducing his spouse to gaming or something. Even though that is and was very common until just recently.

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  4. I would count Stacy as a SJW.

    She was offended that my wife played in an all women players Top Secret Game run by Merle Rausmussen at NTRPG Con.

    Zak run all women games for members of the adult entertainment industry and that's awesome.

    She makes little sense to me

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    1. One major difference, though, is that rather than complaining about what's wrong and trying to ruin everyone else's fun, she has put an immense amount of work into _positive_ change. Contessa may or may not be successful in achieving her goals, it has run into some difficulties because of some of the decisions made, but by damn _she's working hard on something positive_.

      SJWs? They rarely try to build positive things, they spend more time trying to tear down what they don't like.

      IOW, I think she's too sensible and reasonable overall to be an SJW.

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    2. we'll see if she can explain her observations about me at NTRPG Con and her insult of Merle and my wife (and the other two women in Merle's game.)

      I understand her prejudice against me, but it still doesn't explain away her supposed observations (and if a male had posted what she said, about seeing me multiple times and just KNEW I saw her - that would be considered stalking or worse - we simply never saw her)

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  5. I bought a copy of RPL just to see what all the fuss was about. I have been pleasantly surprised. I haven't read it all yet as I had to rush off and read Alice in Wonderland and Looking Glass first, but the first 10 pages were very well written. The thing I like most about the book is its physical quality, I am a sucker for really well crafted books with unique look and feel, which it is in RPG standards. The size of the book, the type of colour of the paper and the art choices are really excellent. As for its playability... have to read it all first, but it looks like your GM has to be pretty on the ball. Oscar WIlde would have liked it I think.

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  6. I am interested in reading R&PL at some point. Zak writes very good stuff. I'm just not sure why I need yet another take on Alice in Wonderland - that's about the only thing that stops me. I'm all Carroll'ed out at this point, even if I would like to run Dungeonland again.

    But all voting in these kinds of things is about getting out the vote and pushing and marketing and encouraging. It's about as fair and representative as an All-Star Game vote, and about as valid an assessment of overall goodness of what is voted on. But equally it's just as valid, and recognition for your efforts is good no matter how it comes, especially if it's a product that really does deserve the recognition. So I have no real issue with the whole thing.

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  7. "It's great for Zak S, great for +James Raggi and awesome for the OSR."

    "Social media happened. Ballot box stuffing happened. Cheating, legit or otherwise, happened to ensure the best product won, which just goes to show how irrelevant the ENnies are."

    So they won four awards which is cool, but those four awards don't mean anything. I'm hearing the slap of a backhanded compliment.

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    1. "The math here is fairly simple and I've explained it before: there are 3000 print copies in existence, Enworld.com's Ennie awards had 20,000 voters and--barring some egregiously quick pdf sales or egregious lack of enthusiasm for the well-distributed and promoted mainstream products, it can't possibly win." - Zak S

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    2. I have no idea how it won and don't care.
      I think it is good, though, and it has zero bad reviews, and the Drama Club are pissed, so the point is check out the book.

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    3. And now I find myself agreeing with Zak.

      Print or PDF - grab a copy. It is good.

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  8. Why cant people just put on a fake smike and act happy when someone else's talent wins an award? Everyone needs to stop trying to be Kanye West.

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    1. If Erik has a grievance he should air it.

      It was "fake smiles" that had the RPG community drowning in half-assed pretentious theory and unambitious projects for years.

      Anyone who has a problem, say so.

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    2. you've had me blocked on G+ since t his post http://www.tenkarstavern.com/2011/06/reaction-from-outside-blogosphere-lotfp.html in 2011 and it's associate G+ thread.

      enough?

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    3. I still don't like you, Tenkar.

      But you have a concrete accusation I have to address it and I have no right to evade it.

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    4. I'll take you at your word, Zak.

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    5. My post was about this a quote from Erik: "Not so awesome for Cam Banks and crew, who threw a tantrum and heckled when the first award for A Red & Pleasant Land was announced. Talk about assholes." When did people lose the ability to STFD, fake smile and not make a scene at an awards ceremony? Common courtesy, dipwads.

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  9. I apologize for being ignorant, but what is SJW?

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    1. "Social Justice Warrior". It's like a Puritan whose Bible is a UC-Berkeley dorm bulletin board.

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    2. Holy Dinah that is the perfect description for SJW.
      Permanent yet permanently ephemeral.
      Thank you.

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    3. Pseudo-activist or Outrage Brigade are much better terms. SJW might imply that there's something wrong with Social Justice, rather than with assholes who manipulate issues in social justice issues for their own narcissistic motives.

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    4. I wish I could +1 Kevin's comment. Best. Analysis. Ever.

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    5. I agree with RPG Pundit. In fact, seeing the term thrown around here so freely gave me pause because, in a lot of other places, it's used by social conservatives to try to slap down or discredit any liberal or feminist opinion, no matter how legitimate.

      The problem with the people who heckled the awards isn't their political positions; it's the fact that they think people they disagree with should never win awards, no matter the quality of the work or whether the work itself in any way offends their values.

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  10. I am not sure that I think we know that cheating (in a non-trivial sense) happened. Nothing in the rules required that you read a copy, instead of basing it on reviews or blog posts. You could say that the meaning of the awards is unclear, given few voters owned or read everything. But the connotation of cheating is that it was illicit. And it might have happened -- who knows. But I think you could make this exact point with different wording -- and even make it a stronger point by not distracting people with the question of cheating.

    Instead, it mostly suggests that the drivers of how people vote are complex. That is a cool conversation.

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    1. I completely agree with this. This math makes a lot of assumptions about voting. So 20,000 people voted for the Ennies. Do we know that they all voted in the categories RPL was nominated for? I certainly didn't vote in every category. It's also shaky to assume that only people who have bought the book will vote for it. As others have mentioned, people read and enjoy things they haven't bought physically. Heck, Zak himself was running a campaign on his blog that was basically "vote for RPL because these people hate me." No mention of the quality of the book (which is immense; I own the book and voted for it in all categories because I believed it was the best, not to stick it to any haters). Is it so hard to believe that his fans who couldn't afford/didn't get a copy still voted for it to support him and the OSR? Or is that what he's complaining about?

      Also, can anyone provide more info on this Cam Banks thing? This is the only place I've heard about it, even after some Googling. I'd be curious to learn more.

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    2. The math is Zak's.

      Keep in mind, the OSR might fight better than it's poundage, but it is still very small compared to the big guys (WotC, Paizo, FFG) that control the majority of the market.

      Zak succeeded far outside his weight class. It is an impressive feat.

      As for the Cam Banks deal, I've been told of it by multiple sources that witnessed it. I believe it's also mentioned in the G+ Kicksnakrer Community. Cam's wife was apparently the loudest voice. The usual suspects (Fred Hicks and others) jumped on twitter in support of the outburst

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    3. Oh, I completely agree that it's impressive RPL did so well against 5e. It just seems silly to have said "it's impossible for us to win" based on such shaky math. It's also worth pointing out that RPL won one Gold for Best Setting (no 5e entries), one Silver for Best Adventure against 5e's Hoard of the Dragon Queen which got mediocre reviews even from the 5e faithful (and didn't place), and Silver for Product of the Year against the 5e PHB in a field of ten rather than five nominees (splitting those 20,000 possible votes much more). I don't meant to denigrate RPL's achievement, and the Best Writing gold against the 5e DMG is 100% impressive. I'm just saying that saying "it's impossible for me to win" before the awards ceremony kind of reminded me of the run-up to presidential debates, in which both sides talk a lot about how their own guy isn't that good at debating and the other side has all these advantages, just to lower expectations. I dunno. Like I said, I voted for RPL in all categories because I thought it was beautiful, not for any identity politics reasons.

      Shame about the Cam Banks heckling thing. One wishes the non-D&D creators would stick together a bit more.

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    4. The first time I met Cam online I was interviewing him about his (now-failed) Marvel RPG. It was very nice.

      He totally jumped on the harassing-porn-stars bandwagon after 5e was released though because he was a big supporter of the Tipper Gore Gamers.

      He compared me to Hitler a month before the awards...
      http://dndwithpornstars.blogspot.com/2015/06/i-got-nominated-for-bunch-of-awards-so.html
      ...so it's not surprising that he ran out of the hall when Stacy got up to accept the first awards for Red & Pleasant Land.

      He is shit.

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    5. I never knew Hitler did porn. I wonder if he was in that Joan Crawford stag film?

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  11. Relevant or not, you can't applaud when Fate Core wins an Ennie and then cry about the Ennies meaning nothing when Zak S. wins four. Not without being an hypocrite at the very least...

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  12. As a SJW, I find it interesting and disingenuous to be tarred with the same brush as those disliking Zak.

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    1. Thank you! I feel much the same way. There's room for more than two sets of beliefs and opinions.

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  13. As a SJW, I find it interesting and disingenuous to be tarred with the same brush as those disliking Zak.

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    1. Ditto, Dyson. Ditto. I'm not sure I'd use the same words as you, but the sentiment is there.

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  14. What is it about? D&D in Wonderland with the cliched "dark Wonderland" schtick? Where does one get a sample to see if it's any good? Never heard of it.

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    1. http://dndwithpornstars.blogspot.com/2014/10/red-pleasant-land-in-flesh.html

      http://dndwithpornstars.blogspot.com/2012/09/a-chunk-of-wonderland.html

      http://dndwithpornstars.blogspot.com/2012/08/a-red-and-pleasant-land.html

      http://dndwithpornstars.blogspot.com/2013/07/more-alice-art.html

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    2. http://www.dndclassics.com/product/17040/EX2-The-Land-Behind-the-Magic-Mirror-1e?it=1

      http://www.dndclassics.com/product/17039/EX1-Dungeonland-1e?it=1

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    3. Heavens! Those aren't links to Red & Pleasant Land previews, those are links to Dungeonland modlues, which are very different things!

      This 'bad wolf' must be no wolf at all, but actually some kind of internet troll!

      bad wolf: it is bad to be a troll on the internet. You should stop.

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    4. Not only that, but they aren't very good adventures at all

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  15. What's a Cam Banks? Sounds like a fishing location near Alaska.

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    1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cam_Banks

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  16. You could also look at the Ennies from a sportsfan perspective. There will always be people in any competition who are for their "home team" and think the home team should win every time, regardless. A certain percentage of those people are dickwads who do things like heckle and throw trash on the field and stomp and pout. They show their true colors to all those around them, which in this case is a big crowd, considering how big the Interwebs are these days. The Ennie voting is what it is, they should get over it and try harder next time.

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    1. Ermm... Try harder to make a better product, not try harder at being a dickwad. It should also be pointed out that being a dickwad will not win you any competitions, such as the Ennies, and may in fact cost you future votes, no matter how good your product may be.

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  17. Replies
    1. Some are. Some aren't. Some are to a lesser extent. Some are to a greater extent.

      Cam Banks is in the words of Zak: "shit." That certainly wasn't a manly outburst by Cam.

      Personally I think that devalues shit, which should have a higher net worth than Cam, especially after his outburst. Shit has the potential to do something useful with it's existence, with the potential goal of becoming fertilizer, thus helping stuff grow. Cue the happy music.

      I'd have to say Cam is lower than shit. Puke perhaps?

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  18. (Full disclosure: I'm blocked by Zak on G+. I fully accept the reasons he blocked me. I have no plans on picking up R&PL.)

    I leafed through R&PL at my FLGS. It's a gorgeous book, and Zak / James have every right to enjoy their ENnies awards. This is the sort of book Zak was born to write as (I have a strong suspicion he really enjoys the world of Alice in Wonderland, and strongly identifies with certain characters in the story). So take his passion for getting Alice and Wonderiland right along with a publisher who is unafraid to pull out the stops to get it right and you have potent material. I was unsurprised with the nominations and eventual wins. I also was unsurprised with the other wins from the ENnies. Would I have liked other products to win? Definitely. I think the 13th Age Bestiary is quite good, and Dreamhounds of Paris really pushes my buttons. But admittedly R&PL is a cut above those products. The passion is palpable, and you could easily say no awards for R&PL would also have been suspect. This is the sort of work that will be cited as raising the bar for the DIY crowd much in the same way Orkworld got folks thinking about monster races in interesting ways. Is the Wonderland premise new? Hardly. But D&D is hardly new and yet we still have great revisions of products that keep pushing the boundaries.

    Discounting the ENnies because Zak won discounts the hard work of all of the ENnies winners. And Zak should be rightly proud of taking a well-trod (and often not-very-well-done) game premise and releasing an excellent product. If we can't award work that pushes the boundaries (regardless of who's name is on the cover) then gaming will stagnate and wither.

    Congratulations Zak, James, et. al on a well-deserved win.

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    1. There really should be a Circle just for those blocked by Zak on G+ - the members (both numbers and personalities) would be impressive ;)

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    2. I've heard Mike Elgan say there's an upper limit to the number of folks you can follow on G+ (5,000 iirc). I'm not sure how many people you can block on G+ but I'm sure Zak will be the first to find it.

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  19. I feel R&PL totally deserves the awards, and have to say I understand where he was feeling about his chances. In 2012, I figured there was no way Streets of Zobeck would beat out WotC, but it did. It happens and I have to say I like seeing the smaller shop's designer pick up the metal. I'm hoping Yoon-Suin sees at least a nod next year.

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    1. Yoon Suin is a very different product in many ways and lacks the gorgeous physical production values, but it is an amazing product and I will definetely be voting for it next year ;-)

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  20. I feel R&PL totally deserves the awards, and have to say I understand where he was feeling about his chances. In 2012, I figured there was no way Streets of Zobeck would beat out WotC, but it did. It happens and I have to say I like seeing the smaller shop's designer pick up the metal. I'm hoping Yoon-Suin sees at least a nod next year.

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  21. Funny enough, I was at two panels (and on one) at Gen Con that ran before panels headed by Banks. Every one of those panels ran long, forcing Banks and his crew to get started late. I felt guilty about it at the time, but that's only because I didn't go to the ENnies and didn't know anything about this crapfest. Now I feel kinda proud.

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  22. Ye gods, reading this thread makes me sad for gaming, and happy that I've been lucky enough to never have to deal with such ridiculous drama. I hope the days when a person's politics dictate who sits at a gaming table never happen.

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