Keeping Politics Out of Gaming Pt 3

I don’t entirely agree with Troll Lord Games just as I don’t totally disagree with my unnamed friend from Instagram. I can disagree with someone and still love them to pieces. I have plenty of family and (Internet) friends from all over the political and religious spectrums. I try to get along with all of them.


This isn’t going away any time soon, apparently.

Every time I’ve posted the blurb for these articles on Twitter, I get at least one troll dribbling hateful offal all over the place. I despise having to lock threads. Tbh, I don’t really enjoy blocking people on social media. We’re there for open discourse. Having to shut down trolls seems counterproductive.

I have 4 key points in regards to this whole Politics in Gaming issue:

  1. Loudly proclaiming neutrality or staunch apolitical stances aren’t helping anyone. Stand for something positive, please.
  2. All players are welcome so long as they can be respectful to their fellow players. (Realize that includes out of game in some extreme cases. aka No Nazis.)
  3. I’m not going to tell anyone to cancel a specific game company unless there is evidence that said company has done some really shady sh🦆t.
  4. “Cancel Culture” has the potential to do social justice. It also has the potential to ruin people’s lives just as much as any other form of extremism.

It sounds like I’m waffling, but please hear me out.

I find extreme behaviors very triggering. I suffer from depression, anxiety/social anxiety, and ADHD among other things. Sometimes interacting with people makes me want to go live off the grid in a cabin by the lake with lots of trees around. Trees don’t judge. Trees don’t cause PTSD.

I don’t entirely agree with Troll Lord Games just as I don’t totally disagree with my unnamed friend from Instagram. I can disagree with someone and still love them to pieces. I have plenty of family and (Internet) friends from all over the political and religious spectrums. I try to get along with all of them.

I don’t approve of hate speech. If people can be cool, respectfully state their side of the story from a place of truth and authenticity, I’ll listen. I’ve found most people that yell anti-BIPOC, anti-LGBTQIA, ableist, etc slurs tend to not have much of an authentic base for their opinions. Or their base is just really lacking in critical thinking.

I have a position on a lot of these things, it’s just not always an absolute or an extreme. I think that’s what my friend on Insta and the folx at Troll Lord Games are trying to maybe say even if it’s not crystal clear. I don’t believe in shunning others just because they don’t think the way I do. I don’t believe taking a solidly apolitical stance necessarily means catering to the lowest common denominator. What I think both issues require is clarity.

Maybe we’re not asking the right questions.

What if we could sit down with Stephen Chenault from Troll Lord Games and ask him about the Tweet in question? What if one could just hang out with Stephen in the breakroom at TLG and casually discuss social media? What would that be like? (*Yes, I tend to look up to most gaming celebs.) What was meant by “discussions in which society enjoys to engage?”

The same can be said about my friend from Insta/Twitter. Are they worried about being the victim of “Cancel Culture?” Did something happen to prompt the Twitter thread that started that controversy? (*It sucks I can’t post any of it without a lot of people knowing exactly who it is. I’m not here to name and shame.) Again, stating a neutral or personal opinion does not mean someone is siding with the lowest common denominator.

I won’t tell you what to buy in this case.

I don’t tell people how to vote. (*Because my political views are somewhat bizarre to most people.) I don’t tell people where to shop unless I have mostly positive things to say. If I stopped buying from every company that had one person who offended me, my gaming library would probably shrink considerably. If I like the book, I buy the book. Very rarely do I turn down a gaming book with a few extreme exceptions.

I tell everyone to use their discernment. If you don’t like Troll Lord, vote with your dollars. If you love Troll Lord, likewise vote with your dollars. Not sure? See what they’re offering. Maybe some of it is okay. Their designers have been in the TTRPG industry for a long time.

Troll Lord Games hasn’t committed any hate crimes. They don’t have designers who have declared themselves openly Nazis. As far as I know none of the staff have done something to get themselves banned from a convention. I still can’t figure out why someone shared what should have been a company wide email in public on a social media platform.

One last thought before I put this to bed for tonight.

For all the people who keep saying “It’s just a game. Who cares?” Please remember that BIPOC, LGBTQIA, neurodiverse, women and/or other marginalized people still get turned away from gaming tables. Cultures are still being misrepresented and appropriated for use in RPGs every day.

We can’t change other people. What we can do is represent ourselves and others with authenticity and integrity. Treat people the way we want to be treated. Roleplaying is a hobby for everyone. As long as we still have duality and separation within the human race, we’re just going to have to find a way to either get along or stay with those who resonate the most with us.

Yes, let’s get back to gaming. Let’s get back to writing #Dungeon23 rooms and creating magic items. But please, let’s be kind and respectful to one another?

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you. Have a good one. Stay safe.

Author: Jeff Craigmile

I'm a tabletop role-playing game writer and designer from Des Moines, Iowa. I'm the father of four boys and human to three cats.

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