The following was shared around 9 AM Eastern this morning. I'm sharing this without comment. You can read the original on Facebook here:
2 hrs ·
Truth, for the Record
In 2005, my friend and co-author Gary Gygax invited me to join him at Dragonsfoot.org. I posted often, freely interacted in several forums, and donated money when I could.
In 2015, I had a security problem (unauthorized use of my desktop computer), the only one in 10 years. But Dragonsfoot simply closed my account and never responded to my emails. They never handled the matter properly or fairly.
I did not write or send the nasty private message being quoted publicly. The recipient joined Dragonsfoot moderators Silvey, Marshall, and Gonnerman (the latter two having written OSRIC and BFRP, respectively) to make their accusations public at another website (Knights & Knaves Alehouse, now a locked NSFW thread). Their tales have been widely circulated in place of the facts. In falsely painting me as a bad guy, their actions crushed my former admiration for these two pioneers of 21st century roleplaying. Two of my idols had suddenly fallen.
I was a Guest of Honor at Paizocon 2014. During that period I made many new acquaintances, including Lisa Stevens, Mona, Bulmahn, Alvarez, Radney-Macfarland, and others. More than one pointed out another employee, Jessica Price, and suggested that I include her in my new acquaintances, as she had notable potential. Price and I did not interact at the convention, but both of us attended a larger dinner at some point. She used feline analogies to describe herself, and spoke of her pet.
Over the next year I sent various FB friend invites to Paizo personnel, including Price. Her only response was “you’re sweet.” From that I realized that my words were misinterpreted, and I immediately pointed out that I was old and married, and left it there. However, she quickly attacked me during our subsequent Facebook interactions, so a few weeks later I unfriended her. She Blocked me immediately in her anger, and we had no further contact. As she requested, I never again had any effect on her or her life. (She has made other false claims referring to conversations that do not exist. Any claim that I meddled in her life is untrue.)
My words obviously affected and insulted her. She incorrectly treated my words as a threat, imagining nuances I did not intend. I was wrong to use the phrasing I did. I apologize once again for anything my words caused. I have tried to learn from my many errors, and I will keep trying.
Price left Paizo. Soon the “me too” movement occurred. Price dug up our brief interaction from two years earlier and repackaged it, adding paranoid fictions about my (nonexistent) meddling in her life. The careful timing of her attacks was a major factor in the destruction of my Empyrea kickstarter campaign and more than 30 jobs. I publicly apologized to her for whatever I had done, and asked for a formal investigation to clear up the falsehoods. That never happened; nobody cared. (I personally made sure everyone who worked for me got paid, whatever it took. I am poor and that hurt a lot, but I keep my word. I did not publicize that fact.)
Price was very publicly fired in July 2018 for irrational attacks on men, and became the personification of a vulgar internet meme. (https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Rando-Asshat)
I respectfully ask that the reader consider the fact that this infamous and discredited person is the primary character witness against me.
Those who attack me know nothing about me, so it’s time to fill in some details (also see wiki/Frank_Mentzer)
I’m 68, a suburban kid who moved to the rural Midwest in 1980. I was active in the tabletop gaming industry from 1980-1988, and have only dabbled in it since, though it has been my primary hobby. Tens of millions of my works were sold, but that was long ago, and I am not a Public Figure.
My many published works and unpublished tournament adventures contain Zero controversial or objectionable elements. I’ve run more than 1100 online games, also entirely G-rated and uncontroversial, and I have text logs of most of them (perhaps a future publication).
I was hired by TSR in 1980, and they sent me to game conventions. Over 38 years, in meeting thousands of fans at hundreds of cons, there have been Zero complaints about me or my events. This of course includes Gary Cons 2008-2018. The total is now too large for me to count… several GenCon South, East, and SoCal, and 38 main GenCons (WI & Indy)… several at both TotalCon and NTRPG… dozens of small cons coast-to-coast, two in Canada, two major international cons (Finland and Italy), and many more (sorry, no room). I have a perfect record of perfect attendance and behavior.
I avoid profanity, vulgarity, and obscenity. I’m pacifist, and avoid attacking anyone or anything. I’m very private, and tend not to respond when attacked. I practice what I learned in 35 years as a game auctioneer: There are too many critics already, spreading hatred and conflict. Find something good to say about every game and every gamer, and strive to be a positive influence.
I make lots of mistakes, as do all humans. I am averse to malevolence, hatred, and other negative emotions. I mention this because attackers prefer to portray me as a highly motivated Old White Evil Power. That is another of their fictions, created so they can pretend to be good guys. In reality I’ve always been poor, have marched with and fought for minority groups, and now stand firmly with my gay and trans friends.
(Brief Downer) I survive on a Fixed (government) income and Medicare coverage. I don’t drink alcohol, not even beer. I can’t walk much, and need a scooter to navigate game conventions. I take a dozen pills a day (plus more to deal with recent stress), and suffer from emphysema, hypertension, diabetes, coronary artery disease, gout, cataracts, and other maladies. But retirement is wonderful.
At my gaming table, everyone is both welcome and equal, but you must leave your problems (and issues) at the door, for everyone’s comfort and benefit. I strongly feel that Gaming time is limited, and is for gaming and not Reality (whence we must all return afterward).
I removed the rules’ obvious white-male bias (limits on non-humans and females) decades ago. In games I include very little combat, and prefer interaction, dialogue, role-playing, and problem-solving… solutions other than ‘kill them all’. Race and gender are generally irrelevant peripheral details. In convention games and my ‘home’ (chatroom-based) games, I avoid mention of ingestion, excretion, reproduction, and other body functions, details that make some players uncomfortable. I’ve created a new roleplaying game (Fairy Tale Games/tm) that avoids the combat and bookkeeping so prevalent in modern games. I’m giving it away free.
Some Comments on the overall Situation
I do take full responsibility for my mistakes, and sincerely apologize for my errors of ignorance. Much of the fault is in not fighting back against the lies when they were created. But my internet expertise pales next to these formidable opponents, and I have no assets to balance their many accounts, platforms, and acolytes. Their machines are built to destroy, and I do not play that game.
Words & Deeds
100% of the valid complaints about me are about words. All complaints alleging real actions are false exaggerations and assumptions.
I keep getting Pearl Harbored. Dragonsfoot sought no fair resolution of our problems; they simply attacked without warning. Price sought no resolution, an ambush once again. Each attack also bears a hallmark: privacy violations. In business and law, Private generally means confidential and exclusive. To these amateur assassins, ‘confidential’ means ‘file for later public use.’ When compared to ethical professionals, their character seems markedly aberrant.
One extremist group promotes division, exclusion, and segregation, running convention tabletop games designed for that and advocating bans & boycotts. They publicly named me as a liability to Gary Con, basing their opinion on internet rumors alone. Despite their destructive mission objectives, their few good attributes do attract lots of forgiving fans, and that has influenced this situation.
I have publicly begged for someone, or some oversight body, to review the charges made in these controversial incidents and come to a fair conclusion. I believe that most of the accusations are invalid, and will be proven false. I am fully willing to be held accountable for anything I have actually done.
But in all of Hobby Gaming, including every aspect of game creation and manufacturing, organized play, and all of global fandom, there is no Oversight, no control. Anyone can claim anything, and nothing is ever resolved. Rumor and innuendo dominate the climate of the hobby, and the negativity has reached into local events. This situation is unsustainable, and is rapidly degenerating. Please fix this.
(end Part 1)
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