This is still going on Twitter and I suspect elsewhere.

We’ve now heard Twitch streamers, YouTubers, and more people chiming in with an opinion on Twitter and abroad about this. I would like to add, for the sake of clarity, I don’t think every game company should come out and give a line-by-line manifesto of how they feel about every political issue. Hold employees accountable or back them up, sure.

Because Role Playing, boardgames and Miniatures Wargames are primarily a close-up social event, we’re bound to have some contact with people who rub us the wrong way. That’s pretty much inevitable in the real world and on social media. We would prefer people stay in their own corner, in their own crowd, but it doesn’t always work that way. Friendly Local Game Stores and game conventions sometimes put us at tables with total unknowns or people we know we don’t get along with.

There’s neutrality, tolerance, and intolerance.

No, this isn’t the great fantasy RPG alignment debate. If only it were that simple. Tolerance of everyone all the time is a very difficult position. Being neutral is likewise difficult to maintain as a general disposition. Finally, intolerance goes multiple directions.

When it comes to tolerance or acceptance, the breaking points eventually bubble to the surface. Buddha, Jesus, other ascended masters could somehow pull it off. Some of us can’t take it that far. Unfortunately, tolerance is often seen as a sign of agreement. Tolerating all people means associating oneself with some pretty shady characters. I mean, who wants to hang that “I tolerate serial killers” sign out in front of their house?

It’s been pointed out in multiple conversations around politics in gaming on social media that attempting to have a neutral or apolitical stance is, in and of itself, a stance. Many people claim it’s the same as tolerating or encouraging all sorts of deviant behavior. It can be seen as the equivalent of looking the other way as the fascists round up one’s neighbors for “reeducation” or worse.

Last, there’s intolerance. But it’s not what you think. Sure hate, anti-LGTBQIA speech, and bigoted anger are all forms of intolerance. Most of us I’d dare say aren’t fans of the Fourth Reich. Most of the time, the hardcore haters are easy to spot, avoid, or maybe have them escorted from the premises.

I want to talk about the other side of the coin for a moment. We’ve seen a rise in “Cancel Culture.” I see their point, and a lot of times I agree with the sentiment. However, I don’t agree with the tactics. Punching a Nazi might feel good, but what does it accomplish? And running someone out of town because they happened to be vocal about some opposing viewpoints is extremism gone sideways. Pretty soon anything and everything that is said on social media might see them losing all of their followers and being forced off of a platform entirely.

Let’s talk about the bottom dollar.

Troll Lord Games tells its employees:

I’d say 30-40% of the responses I read said they would no longer be buying Troll Lord products. I’d also say just as many said they would start buying TLG’s products as a result. It’s not really a clickbait post if you lose as many as you gain, right? So, that means the point of the exercise was not an attention grab.

Wizards of the Coast (Dungeons & Dragons) as well as Paizo Inc (Pathfinder) have been very vocal about virtue signalling and letting people know that they stand behind women, LGBTQIA, BIPOC and others. Paizo has even gone the extra mile and abolished slavery from their products and made several semantic changes along the way as well. Why? $$MONEY$$

People don’t go into business to lose money. People don’t tend to stay in the RPG business long if they openly embrace anti-BIPOC, anti-LGBTQIA, anti women, anti-Neuro Diverse, and so forth. Employees abusing women at gaming conventions is bad press. Employees going on social media and spewing all kinds of hate and disgust is bad press. Most game companies do not have a big public relations presence.

It’s easier to stand FOR something than against it.

I’m pro small game company, pro (for) artists, pro LGBTQIA, and so on. The people I follow and care about mean a lot to me, obviously. It’s easier to try to support them and get behind them than it is to just disagree and hate on everything that is not-them. Just stating, “I choose to remain neutral” won’t do enough when it comes to certain situations. Sometimes even RPG companies need to be vocal about where they stand or people will make assumptions based on that neutrality whether it’s correct or not. (*That’s kinda what happened to Troll Lord Games IMO.)

No one wants to be on the receiving end of the Torches-n-Pitchforks committee on social media, either. Another friend of mine from Instagram and later Twitter spoke up against “Cancel Culture.” The shitstorm that followed was not pretty. My dilemma is I still kinda like Troll Lord Games even if I don’t agree with their apolitical stance as a company. I still agree with my friend on Insta/Twitter about most things even if some of my other beloved, very vocal friends are up in arms about one specific comment.

More on this subject in the coming days. I sincerely wish more people would try to see things from multiple angles. Everything in moderation, ya know? I’m certain I speak for some of the #ttrpgfamily when I say it would be nice to get back to talking about games, game mechanics, and characters than having a dark cloud looming over the industry.

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you being here even if we don’t 100% agree about everything all the time. Where’s the learning if we always agree?