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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Gaming - The Ties That Bind

I may not be OSR Jesus (really, I'm not) but in some ways I've become a pastor (I get the darnedest IMs) for some in the community. I've even been ordained on the internet (don't tell my priest - besides, Rach spilled those beans years ago)

This probably doesn't apply to 99.999% of those reading this, because you probably aren't sending death threats to members of the OSR at large because of their political beliefs, left or right.

That being said, politics IS driving folks from the OSR (possibly from gaming altogether) and that's a shame. Gaming is one of those activities that crosses gender, racial, social, religious and political lines. When we sit down to game we are all gamers at the table. We share a social activity that is greater in sum than the individuals that participate in it. We literally share a common denominator.

Gaming.

We make magic together and the loss of any one person in our community lessens us all. We should be growing the community, not chasing folks from it. I'm not suggesting that anyone change their beliefs or opinions. Those are personal and we often fight hard to hold on to them. Just remember that others feel the same about their beliefs and opinions. Its what binds us, not what separates us, that is important.

Alright, getting off my soapbox ;)

25 comments:

  1. I'm seriously interested to know who is being driven away from the OSR by politics? I assume you're talking about real world politics and not RPG faction squabbles and edition warring. Is there an OSR political trend I'm not aware of? Obviously, I don't get the same kind of emails that you do.

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    1. real world politics Ven - more insidious than anything heaven or hell could have cooked up on their own.

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    2. real politics splitting everyone everywhere - ppl less trusting of own countrymen than ever before more to do with changes in media - gaming just a victim of it - i see new splits in art world and other hobbies too

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    3. Ven, it's encoded in the art, weapons, armor, etc.

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  2. Death threats, not cool. But you realize the history of gaming had been exclusionary in several ways, I hope.

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    1. Which has absolutely nothing to do with what I just posted.

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    2. Yes, it does. Most OSR titles are Eurocentric and cater to a core audience. That plays a role in some of this even if you never noticed it.

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    3. Again, nothing to do with what I posted.

      I know you are passionate in your beliefs. Find another forum to express them.

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  3. I'm glad someone said it and that someone isn't me.

    Good lord, keep your political opinions about real world matters away from the OSR! There are so very few places which have escaped contamination.

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  4. Death threats and other physical threats are a crime and should be exposed so everyone can see who the perpertrators are or, if that is not an option, then report them to the authorities so individuals can be punished. Those are not political, those are a crime.

    Otherwise I want to talk about orcs and armor class.

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  5. Well said, Erik.

    We are our opinions, and its essentially impossible to simply check them in at the door.

    Aside from the "everything is political" truism, we'll always have problems when one player wants to play a pansexual tiefling in a loving, sameish-sex relationship, and another player accuses them of being a SJW etc etc.

    I might not agree with the second player's views, but do see that the "live and let live" philosophy seems like it benefits one side of the debate over the other. Maybe there shouldn't still be a debate, and maybe "live and let live" is the only workable solution in the end. But we're not there yet. This issue is bigger than gaming.

    I don't know what the two players in the above example should do. The best we can do, as gamers, is to listen to the other players round the table and show a little empathy. Gaming should be about making it fun for others, as much as having fun yourself. Maybe even moreso.

    I reckon.

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    1. Hence my mentioning of the problematic roots of OSR games. I get the appeal and enjoy retroclones for their rules light approach. The issue is in where do nonwhite players see themselves in the books, whether in art or cultural artifacts (weapons, armor, fighting techniques, etc.)? But the history of the game is prepackaged with the call to earlier days.

      I can ignore all this because it doesn't impact me since I see myself represented everywhere. The question is do others get the same benefit?

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    2. Not the place for this. Find a different soapbox to stand on.

      You are also forgetting on of Kevin Crawford's more impressive releases.

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  6. The reason I've kept my blog and G+ feed free of any political content on my end and I block those who like to shove their beliefs down other folks' throats. I'm here for the game.

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  7. I've never sent nor received a death threat, but I have at times been put off by (what I perceive as) a general political trend in the OSR to which I don't subscribe. I always come back around, but I'd rather not have politics mixed in in the first place.

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  8. I force all my gamers to be baptized and get envelops from the parish if they want to play. - Kidding, really I am.
    One a more serious note, over the years I have gamed with fellow Catholics, other Christians, agnostic and undecided people in terms of faith. It's really not an issue to me as long as we are all here to game. I have had who few gamers who are gay and it doesn't factor into game play anymore or less than those who are hetro. While sex is very much a part of the real world, I keep it out of my games because it usually causes complications that actually impede the playing of the game for the group.
    As far as politics, I don't ask much and if someone is very vocal about politics and caustic, I probably won't invite them back to the group. Even If I agree with what they say, the table is a place to leave that behind and enjoy the stories that form a common bond among all the players.
    It's sort of like playing an evil character, I think one can only do that in a group that knows the person well outside of the game setting. Otherwise if "Charlie" get off being really cruel and evil in the game and one has no experience of easy going "Charlie" in the real world, it tends to raise questions if not concerns.

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    1. As a Catholic at the ends of the earth your comment about envelopes made me chuckle.

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  9. I think bigotry trumps being a gamer, and the current political climate invites bigotry. I won't invite someone into my home that I know is a racist or a homophobe, so why should I be expected to game with one?

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  11. Let's rephrase this: I'm too busy reading "Vaginas Are Magic" from LotFP to concern myself with adversarial politics or exclusionary perspectives. Free RPG Day rules!

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  12. Most people seem to have their heads stuck so far up their politics they can't think straight.

    I'm guessing about 60% of the American population has lost their ever-loving minds to political craziness. I see it on both sides.

    Now, there is a school of thought that recognizes this is a trend that is going on all over the world. It's likely part of the next big "thing" that we can't predict yet. The Arab Spring was part of it, the coming dissolution of the EU, American politics . . . these are all linked by something that our children's children will study as we study World War 1 and say "Ah, the assassination of Ferdinand! That was the moment."

    As for being racist . . . well, humans don't have level limits and can be any class. Elves are hippy nature worshipers who don't pay taxes, Dwarves don't worry about walls because they tunnel under them, and halfings are too stoned on pipeweed to amount to much (ever wonder why they're all fat? Dude, the get the munchies . . .).

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  13. I find it hard to believe people play games with people way out of their own circle of thought. Gaming to me is something you do with friends. I could be naive in that I live in a very liberal city with a very active/large gaming culture. So no storage of players in the pool or tables to find to be comfortable. So we can be picky about who we play with. Our table of players I guess is the ideal group of what people think of when they say "diversity in gaming". Genders, sexuality, ages, income levels, and so forth are across the board and check lots of boxes. But, there are a lot of political jokes from time to time in the game. Overall though we never rejected anyone due to politics. Just someone who was an A-hole. And that is after having around 20 or so players over the last 7 years. We usually maintain a gaming group of 5-7 at any one time with folks who move away replaced when we can through friends of friends and even meetup groups.

    On the flipside I remember trying to game in smaller town as a younger man. And sometimes you took what you could get at the table. Though mostly that involved just some power gamer types or rules lawyers being a pain. So perhaps truces are more important in those cases.

    I usually come to this site since it posts consistently and I get to track gaming news a bit here without wading through a forum or something. I don't think this venue really allows for much discussion as a platform. The mechanics just aren't there for anything beyond basic overview of news and simple thoughts on it.

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    1. In a way though, isn't your first two sentences the issue? It seems to me that folks used to be able to be friends with people from wide swaths of political opinions. Yes, as a whole you will tend to be friends with people who roughly share your views on things, but are so many people these days really that insulated? My regular GM and I have some substantially fundamental differences in our world views. We're still friends, we still game, we even occasionally discuss those things (although the rule of agree to disagree tends to apply in many cases). The two of us have some radically different views from some of our other players. We all have things we agree on, but we all also have pretty fundamental political differences as well. To me I've never understood why one can not "leave the politics at the door". Frankly speaking if I avoided every form of entertainment provided or populated by people who I disagreed with politically (heck even who have expressed disgust at me politically), I would never have any entertainment.

      There are game designers out there who hate (some of) my politics. They have publicly expressed their wish that no one who has such politics even play their games. But I do (or don't) not on their wishes, or how they or I are compatible politically, but by how good or bad I find their games, because ultimately gaming is bringing people together. And one can not have harmony, peace or even have civil politics if one can not bring different people together in the first place.

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