We interrupt #FrighteningFebruary because your humble narrator is tired and full of questions.
First up, Kyle “I-get-to-work-for-D&D-and-you-don’t” Brink. The thought occurs that I was so focused on his comment about us old white dudes that I completely missed the fact that he did a massive propaganda dump for WotC and managed to bring back much of the divisiveness in the TTRPG community.
Was it a plan by WotC? I’ll credit someone at Hasbro because I don’t think most of the execs at WotC can rub two brain cells together and come up with a good idea. Regardless, ol Kyle “Jar Jar” Brink had every question answered before they were asked in the interview with 3 Black Halflings. Once again WotC’s pet manure spreader did his job perfectly and managed to p🦆ss off half the community in the process. So sad, really.
Second, we were ALL so united against Wizards of the Coast just a couple of short weeks ago. Now we’re back to grooveless sayings being tossed about at one another such as, “Go woke, go broke,” and “…y’all can’t seem to tell the difference between celebrating diversity and denigrating white men.”
I’m very much in favor of diversity and inclusion in gaming. When it comes to that, I’ll make room at the table or give up my own seat if I need to. I firmly believe all are welcome so long as they do no harm. Somebody on the worldwide interwebs might think that makes me a racist somehow. I think having a welcoming, respectful, understanding attitude just makes for a better gaming space. So, just do it.
Third, I know a lot of the old white guy brigade is bragging up how awesome the #OSR is right now. Yes, let’s welcome new players, many of whom came in under the banner of D&D 5E. So DON’T DIS ON 5E! Simple enough? Yes?
Fourth, Patreon seems to be trending these days. Gaming luminaries such as Ed Greenwood and Sean K. Reynolds just recently started up on the subscription site. That’s great for them. I’m a little puzzled why two guys that put D&D and other games on the map need a Patreon, but that’s cool. The bigger question in my mind is: how do they have time to keep up on it?
I’m still on the fence about Patreon. Part of me wants to do it, and part of me thinks it’s never gonna fly with me. For one thing, I’d have to limit myself to one game, one setting, one genre, and so forth. The ADHD hamster in my brain won’t let me do that for any serious length of time. And for another thing, I like putting out stuff for people to enjoy on here for free. I think it almost feels disingenuous to charge a monthly subscription.
Still, plenty of TTRPG YouTubers have their own Patreon thing going. Not just gaming, either. I hear it from dozens of other people in all walks of life and communities. I hear, “Come check out my Patreon for exclusive content and amazing downloads,” quite often in various videos and on websites. It’s become more common than I’m comfortable with, personally. If I were a millionaire, I’d support everyone in the TTRPG field. There’s a lot of great product out there.
But, Patreon is a pay wall, too. That’s what our humble TTRPG industry is rapidly becoming, I’m afraid. I still wonder what kind of negotiations have gone on between WotC and Patreon. TTRPGs were a cottage industry with indie contributions to fan magazines. Now they’re Patreon for dozens upon dozens of indie creators including fan zines. There are entire game companies operating almost exclusively on Patreon. (Kinda makes me sad because I really love some of those games, but they’re out of financial reach.)
Next, Let’s go back to good buddy Kyle Brink for a minute. Cynthia Williams, Chris Cao and Kyle Brink have pretty solid job security as far as I can tell. I’m sure none of them are hurting for money. They’re living high up in that corporate tower of theirs every day looking down on the little people at WotC.
And is it any wonder why the OGL 1.1 happened? Don’t let them fool you. They don’t care about us regular gamers, third party content creators, YouTubers and social media influencers. (Although I do still think certain people are well in WotC’s pocket and will do whatever they’re told in exchange for free swag, convention appearances, D&D in a Castle, etc.)
I’ve said it before- Who wouldn’t want a job designing D&D? Other than the fact that we’re finding out many WotC employees are allegedly miserable as Hell with their management. It’s not like the 1980s when the game was still in its golden era. Now it’s all cubicles and team meetings. (*Kinda stomach churning if you ask me personally.)
So designing third party content with the OGL or CC-BY-4.0 License is a pretty good deal for many of us. The thing that eats me about the whole situation and Kyle Brink’s bullsh🦆t comments are that he will never have to worry about where his next paycheck will come from. Williams and Cao came from tech sector jobs. They’re going to be able to find work even if they get canned from WotC tomorrow. Meanwhile Hasbro lays off 15% of its workforce. Do you think the clowns at the top are taking a pay cut?
Why can’t we live in a world where we just treat one another with kindness? Does corporate greed have to run so sick as to have one person be unemployed so someone else can make as much or more money for making the same mistakes over and over? Seriously, I’d love to understand that. Why does that seem like a good plan?
The grass might be greener, sure. I love making money from what I remember of it back then. I love supporting content creators for several games. I’d love to be able to go out and pay for a latte after I cover my yearly site renewal fees. But if I was sitting in the office of CEO at WotC or even Executive Producer for D&D, would I be willing to make even 15 or 25% less this year if it would keep someone else working? I’d do it without thinking twice. I kinda doubt Williams or Brink would. They can feel free to prove me wrong.
My point is, there’s enough room in the TTRPG industry and really any industry/community for growth and prosperity. It doesn’t have to be politicized or divisive. If we can come together over #OpenDnD, why in the actual Hell can’t we do it for other things? Imagine how far we could all take even the simplest things such as basic human rights if we all pulled together. But we don’t because we have to stop and squabble over skin color, what edition of D&D is best, and pizza toppings. We could all be doing so much better.
Last, (*This went wayyy longer than I intended, btw.) I’ve been doing a lot of socioemotional learning and other therapeutic endeavors. This blog is one of them. I will probably never trust a large, stinking, rotten corporation ever again. Seriously, I’m having a hard enough time saying hello to people in public right now.
This state, country, even this planet make me ill sometimes. Not just the TTRPG industry, but the whole enchilada. Everything. I have my share of mental health problems, and I’m not in a good headspace many days. My physical health is likewise pretty hot trash sometimes. The worst part is knowing there are people out there with a lot more resources and far fewer problems who wish nothing but death and destruction upon me and my family. (*Literally, not #ttrpgfamily.)
I hear a certain political party talking about shutting down Social Security here in the US and I just want to cry. Not only am I concerned for myself, but the sheer volume of people who depend on that money to live day to day. It’s another nauseating case of people with too much dictating woe upon those who have far less. Who needs horror gaming when real life is far more frightening?
I know I said a lot for what was supposed to be a brief venting session. Thank you if you made it this far. I appreciate you. You’re awesome. See ya tomorrow.