Friday, December 6, 2013

Necromancer Games' Clark Peterson Accused of Mixing Judgeship With Orcus

Found this on ENWorld and it's a hell of a story:

Necromancer Games Under Fire?

One of the first companies to take advantage of the Open Gaming License and the d20 System Trademark License was Necromancer Games, under the leadership of Clark Peterson - a popular and generous man, and a good friend to EN World and to the gaming community as a whole. It seems now that Clark has come under a bit of fire because of his gaming connections and how this allegedly conflicts with his job as a judge in Idaho.

The Spokesman Review's Scott Maben has posted an article entitled Kootenai County judge’s job, fantasy game hobby blur together which contains remarks like "Many know him as the demon prince Orcus, Lord of the Undead" and accuses him of, amongst other things, immaturity. It even mentions at one point that "he posts well past midnight" and that on his birthday he posted a message on Paizo's messageboards during his lunchbreak. At one point, a complainant claims that "We don’t know if he’s demon lord in the courtroom or if he’s Judge Peterson in the courtroom".

You can read the rest of the ENWorld article here.

Now for a snippet of the original article:

Judge Clark PetersonOrcusrole-playing games

Clark Allen Peterson is more than just a devoted fan of tabletop role-playing fantasy games.

He has been an entrepreneur and publisher who mentors game designers, heralds product releases from a company he founded, judges design competitions and posts online comments about the intricacies of this make-believe world of monsters, mythical creatures, magic and good vs. evil.

Many know him as the demon prince Orcus, Lord of the Undead.

Others know him as the Honorable Clark A. Peterson, a state magistrate judge in Coeur d’Alene.

The 46-year-old Peterson has posted hundreds of online comments about the fantasy games while at work at the county justice building in his four years as a member of the state’s judiciary.

He is paid $109,300 a year to hear probate matters, divorce proceedings, misdemeanor offenses and other cases in Idaho’s First Judicial District, where magistrates juggle heavy caseloads.

While the past two years have been tumultuous in his personal life – a divorce, bankruptcy filings and thousands of dollars in overdue income taxes – Peterson has remained caught up in the world of role-playing games.

Peterson has been a prolific contributor on the message boards at Paizo.com, a Redmond, Wash.-based publisher of game aids and adventures for Dungeons & Dragons and the spinoff game Pathfinder.

“ I’ve been practicing my goblin voice in anticipation of tonight’s game and I have to admit I suck. It’s like a bad combo of Dr. Doofenschmirtz from Phineas and Ferb meets Yoda.” – Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011, 3:08 p.m.

Parties in two civil cases that went before Peterson believe that his hobby, coupled with his financial and marital problems, distracted the judge from his duties, drew out their cases and cost them far more in legal bills than necessary. They also contend that the amount of time the judge spends on message boards and the content of some of his posts – from playful digressions to sexually suggestive banter – fall short of the high standards of conduct expected of judges.

“This activity shows a level of immaturity,” said Michael Tyner, a Loon Lake resident who saw his mother’s probate case stretch out over 13 months in Peterson’s courtroom.

You can read more of the original newspaper story from The Spokesman-Review here.

I don't know Clark personally, but Necromancer Games products were among the things that brought me back to the hobby. Sucks that he's going through this - never knew he was a judge tho'.


  1. His non-payment of income tax seems to me to be a more serious breach of the standards expected of a public servant than his pursuit of a niche hobby.

  2. Nothing unusual. Leave a man's private life private. Courtroom cases drag out for a variety of reasons. Unpaid income taxes (if true) can also come about for a variety of reasons.
    But as i said, nothing unusual, people in his position, people that have to make important decisions - decisions that will sometimes be against some peoples' wishes or well-being - is always going to come under strange attacks and accusations from some people they run across.
    And all the "accusations" are just completely inconcrete, basically hear-say or attempts at personality-bashing...
    You have my full support Judge Clark, Demon Prince of the Undead ;)

  3. I think it varies from state to state, but where I live I think some judges are elected and others are appointed. I suspect this is more about local and state politics than role playing games. The opponents of his sponsors want to get the whiff of scandal associated with his name. Doesn't matter if it's relevant or not --- they just want to plant the possibility of scandal in people's minds.

    1. Knowing just a little bit about this, its totally a political maneuver by Clark's opposition . But it does indeed suck.

  4. I'm an attorney who games and can think immediately of three colleagues that are gamers. Speaking for all of us, I know that it's a great way to blow off steam and keep from alienating clients, colleagues, and opposing counsel. I would personally have NO problem appearing in front of a judge I knew to be a gamer. In fact, I would prefer it in some instances; I would know that he doesn't take himself TOO seriously.

  5. Judge does seem an eminently appropriate profession for any seasoned gamemaster...

  6. This is slantering, and reminds me of the Colleen Lachowicz case. Looks like Jack Chick is still around, which is scary. As a lawyer myself, albeit not in the US, I do take care of never using my real name online because of things like this.


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