Saturday, March 20, 2010

When Did It Become a Bad Thing To...

... get an Ivy League degree?

... give to charity?

... get paid? in a job that wasn't your usual 9-to-5?

... be partly responsible for a video game website moving some of their focus to traditional tabletop gaming? (I thought we wanted to create interest in what we do in those that didn't have that interest before... or is it bad because they have money or currently play different games?)

All those things sound pretty damn rad to me.

You want to grow the hobby? You want to grow our part of the hobby?

How about not trying to trip anyone involved in taking steps towards doing just that?

(although granted, the excuse for the 3.ish elements of the rules is pretty lame, but we'll see what comes of it)


  1. If I'm interpreting the reason for your ire correctly, know that I share your annoyance at some of the OSR online communities shocking (and predictable) small minded-ness.
    I suppose if I had a beautiful body, fewer hang-ups and more self confidence (as well as being 10 years younger and 30 pounds lighter), I might get paid for allowing others to look at me naked... as it is, I used to 'whore' myself in a cubicle and am currently 'pimping' myself on the job market --- so who am I to judge others?

  2. Associating yourself with porn stars, even indirectly, is a Bad Thing™. Along with Socialism, these kinds of things lead to Fascism and Communism on American soil--further degrading our God given rights and dashing the American Dream.

  3. @limpey: I wasn't expecting you to judge others, but I was hoping you could have some more information before judging the phenomenon in question for yourself. You're fine with it, but others may not be.

    @Verhaden: The issue really isn't you associating yourself with porn stars. The issue is having Zak associate online presences of a lot of people (including myself and members of the community with children) with pornography, while a large company that promotes (primarily) video games reaps a benefit, as do certain charities that might be considered extremist. Painting this as some kind of 'conservative thought police' scenario is incomplete and unfair. It's not really a politics-centered issue.

    @Raggi: I knew you would do this.

  4. I'd like to write this in the comments to Old School Rant, but it doesn't work, so I'll write it here:

    Alex Macris runs The Escapist, and also runs a sandbox Red Box game. His players are people who work at the Escapist and some designers of some well-known video games.

    He found my blog because he actually reads it and uses stuff I post--like the urbancrawl rules--in his games.

    They all tell the same story--the video games pay their bills but tabletop is their first love.

    Alex is an expert on military history--he was able to answer some questions i had about overland movement rates. He went to West Point for a few years, then left, for pretty much the same reasons I would've.

    It seems to be the same story all over videogame land--movie stars all say they;d rather be doing theater, videogame people would all rather be doing paper-and-pencil.

    Yeah, I did go to Yale, and I got a big fucking loan. Like eveyrbody else. The government will still loan any US citizen money to go to grad school. It was easier to pay back since I had a full scholarship to undergrad. I'm not part of some secret plutocratic conspiracy--I grew up with a single parent next door to a Salvadoran street-gang hang out.

    Yes, I am a left-wing extremist. Fucking guilty as charged. So is Michael Moorcock, and approximately 50% of all good weird fiction writers. The other 50% are right-wing extremists.

    everyone involved in my show has some other source of income that makes more money than this show ever will.

    For the girls, believe it or not, actual porn movies are a way better source of income than a 5-minute show for D&D fans on a website somewhere.

    For me, believe it or not, the demographic of people willing to pay 5-6 figures for a painting has about a 0% overlap with people who want to watch a D&D/porn show on-line. Most art collectors aren't wired, straight, or under 60.

    It may be entirely true on some level that The Escapist is an omnivorous corporate beast that will suck your soul out-I don't know-- however, once the show begins rolling, I have a plan to try my best to use the budget for my show to highlight and pay OSR creators to license or create campaign elements if they are willing.

    Some advertisers wanted to advertise on the show on the grounds that we play D&D 4. I refused on the grounds that I wouldn't know what I was doing, plus it just seemed like--in a BEST-case-scenario-a more complex way of doing things I was doing anyway. People at the Escapist agreed. Their opinions of that system are very low, and, unlike me, he's actually played it.

    I like Old School Rant and find it helpful and hope that some of these facts matter to scottsz enough for him to reconsider at least some of his notions about the show.

  5. Since Scottsz has decided to call my integrity into question over this subject, I hope Mr. Raggi doesn't mind if I post a link to my reply in his comments.

  6. @Zak: Thank you. The larger issue of Google and associating D&D and porn is still problematic (not just for me - I'm already getting emails about it and the TARGA newsletter mention), but at least I have clarification from you and not a cheerleader.

    If you'll permit me, I'd like to reproduce your above comment on my blog - completely as it stands above - so that others with similar concerns can see that I've done so and can see your own words.

  7. @scottsz

    ok, if you change "they;d" in the fifth paragraph to "they'd" and you change "evyrbody" in the 6th paragraph to "everybody"

  8. @scottsz

    seocnd to last paragraph "they've" actually played, not "he's" actually played.

  9. Also, since when was Food Not Bombs a terrorist organization? I found that bit puzzling. You'd think the suits would have shut them down by now.

  10. @James: It really wasn't a question of integrity - I just figured that Friday's Rant would cause a shitstorm, but I felt that was important for a few reasons:
    1) Al brought up a post about OSR and marketing which Zak's presence was pertinent to - the sudden collective cheer merited investigation.
    2) You've posted support for Zak's efforts previously, which is fine, but the newsletter is a 'TARGA' newsletter, and I was concerned about a banner ad suddenly appearing on it while a mention of my contribution disappeared.
    3) I'm fine with people making fun of me or being angry at me - I have to expect that given what I post. The material I put up over at Kuntz's blog, however, is a different thing: it's meant for everyone, even they're left wing extremist, 4E fanatic, pill popping, anarchist, schizophrenics. I'm protective of that work (even though, at times, the content is silly) because it's for everyone.
    I apologize for offending or making you think that I questioned your integrity - I simply thought sides were being drawn and I drew the short straw.
    For what it's worth, the larger goals of having clarification from Zak and making the OSR possibly a bit more self conscious about branding, have both been achieved, and it's only Saturday afternoon.

  11. @Zak: "For those with an eye for the finer details, we salute you."

    Many thanks.

  12. @James. Thanks!

    As for the 3.5 stuff, I think we have different philosophies. Yours is "play however you want, and people who want to play like that will show up" mine is "play with the people you want to play with, and play whatever game you can agree on". Fair enough, I think.

    I dream of one day Raggifiying my friends enough that they can handle Tomb of Horrors, but right now that just isn't their kind of fun.

  13. that "thanks" was at both Jameses, but the 3.5 comments were at Jamelotfp

  14. @scottsz
    oh, and next time, write to me first. I mean, before I go 100% on anybody I try to see what THEY think they;re up to first.

  15. Scottsz: I'm afraid you have the advantage. I don't think I know who you are.

    I suspect the 'flap' that other posters (including yourself) are referencing is a bit beyond my grasp. All I know is that I have been following Zak S.'s blog for a short while and found much that had me enthused there (plus a measure of stuff I didn't get and some stuff I didn't agree with)... and I was interested when I saw the first video. The first video wasn't great, but it was different enough that I wanted to give it a chance and see where it led... plus, given my high opinion of the author's creative chops, I thought it would get more interesting as the game got rolling.

    I attempted to interest other people who were self identified old school players on Dragonsfoot and was surprised (and disapointed) at the negativity in a lot of the responses... some of which had to do with the day jobs of the people in the video. Since the video itself wasn't pornographic, I didn't think the objection was valid.

    I don't know anything about who did or did not go to Yale and don't understand it's relevance. I didn't know that people were being paid to appear in the video and don't understand its relevance. I don't know much about the Escapist --- I don't play video games, but if they publish pen and Paper stuff on the site, I will visit it for that. I don't know anything about advertisers and "I Hit it with my Axe." I don't know anything about this being an issue about someone's kids. In my own blog I have a warning page; I think for the web to work, people have to take more responsibility for what they or their family can see/read, rather than asking someone else to do it for them, but that's another issue. I don't have any content that I would consider highly questionable on my blog; I just put the warning there as a courtesy because I may, on occassion, stray into areas that some people will find distasteful. No judgement intended there; I just realize that I have a higher tolerance level than some.
    I have done some old school work for pay and some for free --- I think if someone can figure out how to make a living at this, more power to them. I didn't pay to watch the video on the Escapist.
    LOTFP's post (that I responded to) was rather cryptic --- so I'm thinking now that he was referencing some other conversation that I have not been privy to. A link might help me figure out what your concerns are.

  16. @Zak: For what it's worth, that wasn't 100%. If it helps to clarify - I don't feel that the games are the most important thing we are keeping alive.

    Thanks again, Zak. Seriously. I'm happy to spend the next week with my foot in my mouth...

  17. I know it's a secondary issue to the discussion here, but I find the vilification of video games a little odd as well. Everyone has a day job, and, surprise! a lot of pen and paper gamers (myself included) have gravitated to that particular industry for theirs.

    Many of the people I work with are tabletop gamers, including several who have worked or continue to freelance for TSR, WotC, Paizo, etc...

  18. @limpey:
    (nastiness in question is at the bottom)

    Zak has been gracious enough to clarify a lot of things with a single comment, so while there are remaining issues, I believe they are larger and more abstract things that will merit discussion and consideration going forward.

    I believe I may have a submission on Monday morning, so I'll probably put up a 'correction' on the rant today so it can soak through the weekend...

  19. @moonlapse: the videogame industry is going through its own 'econolypse' - I think mostly it's the risk/reward dynamic butting up against the overhead of producing a great game.

    While I'm not much into video games now, I do confess to missing Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, and particularly Neverwinter Nights - played the hell out of a lot them, not to mention a wicked Turok addiction.

  20. @scottsz

    I gave you permission on grounds you fixed the typos. you didn't fix the typos.

  21. @Zak:

    I really did. Which one did I miss?

  22. oh--i see, they're changed.


    Now, can we talk about bugbears or something?

  23. @Scottsz -
    1) What's to investigate? Zak's stuff is deservedly well received. A lot of us want to see him succeed. Your posts on Mr. Kuntz's blog were well received, as well.

    2) Not sure what you're getting at, here. My sole contact with TARGA is through Chgowiz. He asked me to write a TARGA news column which I was more than pleased to agree to. So long as TARGA wishes, I'll continue to do so. If TARGA doesn't like what I'm doing, I'll move it to my own blog. I've reported on Zak's show, since the news first broke. I also reported on your first Tharizdun post. I apologized in my letter for missing the second one. I've never failed to at least try to pimp, hither and yon, the work all you guy's are doing, both in my TARGA posts and on my own blog. So, why the concern? Is it because you don't like TARGA being associated with the show? And why the hoopla about the banner?

    3)Sides being drawn? WTF? I'm honestly not sure if you're being disingenuous, speaking from events I'm not privy to, or just over-reacting. Let me reiterate something. I'm not in any way involved with any sort of politics, that may or may not be going on within TARGA. Chgowiz is the only person I've communicated with, on "official" TARGA business and that only amounts to a handful of emails, dealing strictly and only with the news. I think Joe Bloch is involved with TARGA. That's the sum of my knowledge, concerning who's who in TARGA. I just have access to the blog.

    Sides being drawn? You'll have to elucidate. Maybe I'm just not privy to a bunch of politics, going on behind the scenes. I'm not a member of any secret OSR cabal, army, political party, etc.

    As for the OSR, Marketing and Branding, James Maliszewski has just posted something concerning this, with which I am largely in agreement.

  24. @Zak: Are you kidding? TARGA wants to kill me!

  25. When's the insect shrine coming out?

    It's my wet-dream that we live in a soceity based on mutual aid and cooperation but while where waiting for the revolution I stick to my day job too.

  26. Sorry dudes - we're not where duh!!

  27. This is some weird shit. On one side we have:

    "Waaaa. You posted shit about D&D and porn and I don't like porn, or D&D being associated with porn, and you didn't post about my shit."

    On the other side we have:

    "Dude, no offense, I have a life, and I can't post everything."

    Completely understandable, and I hope your wife the best in her recovery James.

    Zak writes good D&D stuff. You write good stuff. He happens to play with porn people. You don't. He's videoing their sessions and the game is getting greater exposure. So why don't you video yours and post them somewhere?

    What...we're going back to the 80's and replacing devils and satanism with porn now?

    Gimme a break.

    (Just let me remind you how the "taboo-ness" of D&D due to the small-minded satanism claims grew the shit out of the hobby back then...)

  28. Scottsz...unless this is your way to demonize D&D again and bring enough controversy to grow the game base? Crazy like a fox, man.

    For what its worth I think Zak's vids are one of the very few things going on that have a chance to bring D&D to an audience that never played the game before, and get them to check it out.

    Which is a good thing.

  29. @JoeTheLawyer: I sent an email to James to apologize - I didn't know that the content of the newsletter was on him and thought there was an editorial chain - and he responded kindly and with understanding. I hope someday to have as much grace as he does.

    As far as the vids going - I still maintain that the association of things, branding, and perception is an unresolved issue: I don't have children, so it's not fair for me to speak for those that do. Given what I know of what TARGA's mail network is going through right now, I believe the vids do represent a serious concern for a number of parents out there. I have accidentally thrust a lot of people into a 'porn/D&D' debate in TARGA too suddenly, which really wasn't my intention - I was hoping to trigger some discussion about it. The Internet moves too fast.

  30. @Scottsz: I dig your passion but FWIW I have children and I'd rather D&D was associated with anarchy and porn than nerds with social disfunctions and hygiene problems (a stereotype, not one I subscribe to).

    I'm happy D&D in it's various incarnations becomes seen as an adults game, if I feel the need to deliberately water it down for my kids I'm sure mechanically this won't be that difficult.

  31. scottsz: I looked at the links you provided and nothing really gave me pause other than the Lehmann Bros. association --- and even that is tangential at best (I don't know what function this one person had at Lehman Bros and if that has any bearing on 'Porn stars playing D&D.' I use Gmail regularly and consume entertainment from Time Warner, for example, and I don't find everything about those corporations to be admirable. I don't drink Coors because of their shitty corporate politics; luckily for me Coors and Coors Lite tastes like crap... but I digress.
    With your links I did, however, discover that the author of the "Porn Stars" blog had an MFA from Yale, that he gave money to charities and that he created an artwork based on one of Pynchon's books. All of those are net positives in my opinion... I thought he was just a porn actor who played D&D.
    I'm not interested in OSR (whatever that is) getting nailed down or categorized or having a unified product identity... I just want to create stuff and get my hands on stuff that others create as well as see and hear what they are thinking about.

  32. @Leopardi: I think that's some of the discussion that perhaps needs to happen, and I'm all for parents making their own decisions.

    I don't want to come off like some hyper-conservative, because I'm really not. I grew up with George Carlin records, and I can still remember him (during a particular routine) stating:
    "I'd rather have my children see two people making love than two people killing each other". I think he was quoting someone else, but the sentiment is a good one.

    I would guess that there are parents out there that might share that sentiment, but still have serious issues with the terms 'D&D' and 'Porn' being used in branding or marketing.

    You would not believe what's sitting in my inbox now...

  33. Let he who's never gotten a chubby at age 13 in the 80's looking at the AD&D MM Succubus cast the first stone...

  34. Erm, the Escapist also publishes editorials by the Grognardia guy. Nobody had a problem with him being on there, and I don't think they should have a problem with Zak's show there either.

    I like both features on the Escapist. If the video show's anything like the blog logs of sessions (and it looks to be so) then it should be fun and not much different from most groups *in play*. Keep at it Zak, good stuff! My group likes the mix of play accounts and GM musings / creations.


  35. Not reading ANY of the comments yet...

    Dammit Jim, would it kill you to let the rest of us know what the hell this is about? No link at all? Really? :)

  36. @JoetheLawyer: That's the first chuckle I've had since this morning. Thanks.

  37. Its fun to watch two grown men wring so much vanity out of a public reconciliation. Emotion is now a fuel for self promotion.

    I would love to see more from *The half-cocked tentative rant* show with prideful guest stars whose every breath is self-appraisal.

  38. @Kent: Don't worry, I can't excommunicate you.

  39. I may be the dumbest man on Earth, but I also have no sense of shame, so I'll ask:

    What are you people even *talking* about?


  40. Okay, finally figured out WTF. I think. :)

    @Will: Here's what I think is going on...

    On one hand some people are *really* excited that porn stars are playing D&D, recording it on video, and pimping it on a bunch of different sites saying "this is D&D". On the other hand some other people are saying that's all sorts of lame. And the kicking and the biting with the metal teeth and the hurting and shoving...

    Everyone is busting out the black nail polish and listening to My Chemical Romance and posting about it on their blogs.

    Awesome! :D

  41. I'm no OSR expert, but I think that they're talking about this video blog spin-off of Playing D&D with Porn Stars. Personally I understand the brouhaha only dimly (probably a cultural thing), but it seems to be about some sort of prudish discrimination of adult entertainment. Annoying how people feel like they can own roleplaying to such an extent as to act as PR directors for the scene, ascribing which types of people are allowed to play or publicize their play.

  42. Where's my Dungeons & Dildos movie damnit! Seriously, all publicity is good publicity, as negatives are frequently quickly forgotten.

    @joethelawyer Count me as guilty ;)

  43. I think some people are using my TARGA news post to work out some internal TARGA political crap.

  44. So. Bugbears...

    Just what is the cultural significance of circumcision in bugbear society?

    Is it linked to a "coming-of-age" ceremony where a juvenile male is granted status as a warrior, and can now join a warband?

    Is it because of this fact (coupled with that of bugbears eschewing trousers) that gives them the ability to surprise opponents 50% of the time?


  45. Larry King: How important are the Porn Stars in Draggin a Drudgin? What about the dice? Can you crap out?

  46. When did it become a good thing... not be able to drop the 'tude for 6-10 minutes so I can let my player's kids be in the room when we read the TARGA blog and click the links? decide that you were going to shove your lifestyle and your views in everyone's face and damn them for complaining or being concerned? Some of us might decide to shove back some day.

    Really, there are no battle lines and TARGA didn't want to kill Scott when I left over all of this, although Michael was very ticked.

  47. But you didn't have to click the link. Would you really have clicked THAT link, without checking it out first? Did anyone try to make you click that link? Did you really expect it NOT to be adult fare? If TARGA wants to pull any reference to I Hit It With My Axe, or Carcosa, or any other mature audiences only stuff, that's TARGA's decision. I've been reporting on Zak's stuff and Carcosa stuff, for weeks. NOW it's all of a sudden a problem? There's nothing pornographic in the banner or or words from today's post.

  48. I'm greatly saddened by your decision bat. I'm baffled too by your statements:

    drop the 'tude for 6-10 minutes and

    shove your lifestyle and your views in everyone's face

    As James said, no one forced you to watch the video nor read Zak's blog. Everyone knows his lifestlye. Surely if it makes you uncomfortable, you would choose to avoid anything he posts online? Surely that's just common sense? How can it be called shoving if you voluntarily view Zak's stuff? Bizarre.

    As for dropping the "tude", if the clip is about showing Zak and his mates actually playing a real game, why would they not be themselves? What would be the point of them self-censoring their language for the camera? That would be a piece of fiction, not an insight into a real game.

  49. "When did it become a good thing... decide that you were going to shove your lifestyle and your views in everyone's face and damn them for complaining or being concerned? Some of us might decide to shove back some day."

    Yeah! And stay off my lawn with that ball too!


  50. Okay, LOOK: I've just gotten back from GaryCon to discover this all having emerged over the past X number of hours. It's irritating.

    While I appreciate the rather polite exchange of views going on here, what I'm STILL at a loss for is Scottsz's "Open Letter to TARGA" as a first response to this issue. It's....mystifying, as well as highly troubling. By responding in this fashion, Scottsz seems to be suggesting that there's negative intent ("conspiracy" sounds too strong) behind not mentioning his assessment of Zak's video. I'm completely at a loss to understand why he thinks the people who are managing TARGA's affairs are going to respond positively to his "Open Letter."

    Put another way, immediate escalation is not likely to get the object of your ire to agree with you. (shrug)

  51. Annoying how people feel like they can own roleplaying to such an extent as to act as PR directors for the scene, ascribing which types of people are allowed to play or publicize their play.

    Post of the day.

    When did it become a good thing to decide that you were going to shove your lifestyle and your views in everyone's face and damn them for complaining or being concerned? Some of us might decide to shove back some day.

    The "beautiful" thing about this quote is how universal it is in its hatred and applicability. It works just as well against "porn stars" as "middle-class American values" as "gay people" as "atheists" as "Christians" as "Muslims" as "gamers."

    Congratulations. You must be very proud of having that sort of attitude.

  52. Yeah, I am a big jerk because I thought TARGA might have family friendly content on the blog. I am a big jerk because I thought Zak and his players could zip it for 5+ minutes. I am a big jerk so that James, who has been kind up until this moment, can flip out and call me an anti-everything because it suddenly suits him to turn my words into a hate speech. (I mean, really, death metal is all about sunshine and puppies and everyone is happy, right?)

    Who cares? We decide to drop it, then. I left TARGA so that nobody has to listen to my concerns anymore. It will flourish without me. Crown Zak the TARGA King since now nobody will question anything that you want to push.

    Go for it, just stay off my lawn.

  53. I'm seeing Carcosa, LOTFP and other links on TARGA. And FWIW a mention of James Maliszewski being one of the columnists on the Escapist back in September of last year. Hrm, TARGA mentioned it back on Feb. 20th. No raeg or butthurt any of those times.

    (shrugs) I kinda get the profanity bit, but this is a game spiced with T&A and based on killing monsters, most sentient and some human, and taking their stuff for XP. I tend to consider it NSFW a priori.

  54. (since prudery of that level is incomprehensible to me, I'll talk about video games!)

    I'm a video game designer. Yes, I'd rather be working in tabletop games. Tabletop games don't pay any money. I've worked with John Tynes and Chris Pramas. Up until last week, Rebecca Borgstrom was crashing on my couch. Every last one of them is trying to, has tried to, or is currently succeeding in being employed in the video game industry.

    And believe it or not, some of us are doing good work there. I'm always floored by people who tell me that Game X (usually WoW) is terrible and a blight upon gaming... and then reveal they've never played it. I see this over and over again.

    Does this mean all video games are great? Of course not. Most of them are garbage shoveled out the door to make a quick buck. But there are genuinely good games being made, with compelling game design and interesting stories.

    So yeah, I'm doing it to make a buck, because I have to feed my kid and pay my mortgage. But I'm also doing it because games like Darklands, Silent Hill 2, Persona 3, and Civilization (any of them) (to name just a tiny fraction) are clear indicators that the industry can produce amazing things, and I'd like to be a part of that.

    (Also, if you consider yourself any kind of grumpy ranty get-off-my-lawn kind of old-school grognard, you should watch Zero Punctuation at the Escapist, where Yahtzee will hate on a game far more than you can imagine.)

    (But make sure you're ok with scary, scary four letter words first, because he uses them. Welcome to the 21st century.)

  55. Damn, seriously?

    Because I loves me some porno. That's all there is to say about that.

  56. My first thought when I first read that blog was "Oh no... Now the conservatives who fear D&D will have some fresh ammunition to condemn the game."

    And they will.

    This will make it even more difficult for the hobby to expand into mainstream markets. Markets that traditionally employ public relations professionals to ensure their products are viewed in the most favorable light.

    The writing and stories there are good for the game, entertaining, and creative.

    The focus on who is playing the game there take away from the game itself though. It would have been much better if Zak had originally published his blog without making direct references to the background of his players.

    "Oh yeah, My D&D group is composed of hot chicks and professionals in the movie Industry" and left it at that.

    I'm glad these folks are playing D&D, and find the game both entertaining, and worthwhile. I'm not happy they are posting nude pictures of themselves online, and are linking these to my favorite game.

    This makes it more difficult for me to justify to my wife any good reason to take the kids to say... GenCon, or Origins.

    The fact that my kids may meet up with folks that openly exhibit and encourage such poor judgement is quite enough to keep me away from the conventions, until such time as the focus returns to where it belongs, and that is with the merits and benefits of the game itself.

    Why should I have to focus on other games that involve having to make ethical choices?

    I just want to play D&D, and tell stories about fictional characters that perform heroic deeds and make difficult decisions in unusual circumstances with grace in a manner befitting noble leaders. I want to do this at the gaming table, I don't want to have to do this in real life while I'm at the gaming table, or when I bring my kids to the gaming table.

  57. This reactionary bullshit is sickening. Please keep your tiny, closed minds away from my hobby.

  58. Without getting into the righteous "oh, I am such a rebel" attitude which Jim here would surely appreciate, let me remark that pornographers also enjoy sports, TV shows, restaurants and even public libraries. I am pretty sure some of them are into scrapbooking and knitting. A few of them dirt merchants may post on parenting forums of all places.

    Jenna Jameson, as I have heard, has some poodle or something; others keep goldfish or turtles since they can at least have a converstaion with them without it turning into a four-way human interstection.

    Gamers, well as for gamers, they worry too much about the public image of an inconsequential hobby nobody of consequence has even cared about since the late 1980s.

  59. My first thought when I first read that blog was "Oh no... Now the conservatives who fear D&D will have some fresh ammunition to condemn the game."

    And they will.

    Guess what. There is no "they". It's you. You're the conservative who fears D&D and is condemning the game. You're the problem.

  60. 32 years as a GM... I'm the problem now you say?

    That, Fitzerman, is Irony.

    The problem is they are not playing D&D. They are playing at porn, pretending to be D&D.

    I'm the GM, and I'm ruling it so.

    That's simply my reaction. What do you think the people who don't even play will think?

  61. They'll think what they choose to think. Just like we all do. Some will choose to be offended. Some people like being offended. Those folks, will get exactly what they want.

  62. That's not what we ever wanted for the game though.

    Personally I'd be much happier, if the people who have not played D&D, did not have any reason at all to object to playing, or learning to play. If the canvas is blank, it's open to new intrepretations. If the canvas is already pre-painted, or sketched, then the audience is pre-determined.

    Within D&D itself, ethical dilemmas often come into play in the circumstances of an encounter or story arc, and it's a great opportunity for the players to try out alternative ideas, and discuss the implications, and consequences, of a set of choices.

    That's quite different from actually creating events though, and the results of their consequences.

  63. On the plus side, I Hate Fun is no longer this blog's most commented-upon post.

  64. You're the conservative who fears D&D and is condemning the game. You're the problem.

    Aw YEAH! We've arrived in Awesometown.

  65. @ D Collins - That's a very incomplete pov, on why people do what they do. And do you really suppose, that anyone who cares enough to actually think about the subject, isn't going to comprehend what Zak's show is about? Or how it relates to D&D and the gaming community?
    Without any rancor, let me remind you that I don't need you or anyone else, to do my thinking for me. Or make sure I'm only exposed to the "right things." Believe it or not, your fellow humans aren't nearly as stupid as some folks like to believe. We just do stupid shit, sometimes. For the strangest of reasons.

  66. do you really suppose, that anyone who cares enough to actually think about the subject, isn't going to comprehend what Zak's show is about

    I bet you couldn't get agreement from the people commenting on this post, let alone the general public.

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  68. DCollins Wrote:

    "The problem is they are not playing D&D. They are playing at porn, pretending to be D&D.

    I'm the GM, and I'm ruling it so.

    That's simply my reaction. What do you think the people who don't even play will think?"

    Actually, if they took the time to look at the video, which you obviously didn't, they would realize there is no porn at all in their gameplay. They are not "playing at porn". They're rolling the dice and playing D&D just like the rest of us.

    You would think that after all D&D went through in the 80's due to small-minded ignorance, that this discussion shouldn't even take place amongst people who have been playing it for decades.

    (I deleted the last comment so I could try to repost it here with italics, and do you guys do that?)

  69. You need to type in the HTML by hand.

    Actually, if they took the time to look at the video, which you obviously didn't, they would realize there is no porn at all in their gameplay.

    Except most of the video isn't gameplay. ;)

  70. The people I game with, and my kids will get plenty of exposure to all the "wrong things" out in the real world. Why should we have to receive such revelations into our fantasy game worlds?

    What possible benefit do they, or the game itself receive, from deliberately including that real world exposure into the game itself?

    Is it still the same game then? Or a different game all together?

    I'm here today just to let you know that I must do my thinking for my kids, until such a time as they can make the choices for themselves. Please pardon me for wanting them not to do stupid things, even sometimes, because the real world consequences of that can be permanent.

  71. Thx for the italics answer. I'll go look up how to do it, since, pathetically, I don't even know that much HTML.

    And though there may not be a lot of gaming, as expected for the intro video, it sure ain't porn :)

  72. @JoeTheLawyer...

    I never looked at the video. Just looked over the website itself, and went back a few months through the posts there.

    It seemed fitting that WOTC endorsed it.

  73. Is this still going on?
    Zak and I have a civil dialogue going and really, I think that the point has been gotten across. He said he was confused about my stance and I stated my case which, in the end, really just says:

    Ok, you play D&D with adult film actors, strippers and others. Fine, we get it, we got it a while back. Now it is time to impress us with something else.

    I have enjoyed Zak's writing for months and I think he is a very creative person. However, I took offense at something that he did.

    Fine, it is now over, feel free to drop it and bury the hatchet. I believe that Zak and I have.

    But really, James, thank you for butting in and stirring the hornet's nest, that really helped out a lot. You are a great humanitarian.

  74. To the close-minded bigots out there:

    What are you smoking? Are you serious? Do even live in the same world as the rest of us? Have you even read Zak's blog? Or even watched the I Hit It With My Axe clip? Where on earth is this "shoving an abominable lifestyle down your throat" thing you're obviously so concerned about?

    News flash: Kids get exposed to "bad things" every day, on every conceivable media, on the playgrounds, in school, at sports clubs, on TV, at home. Everywhere. And I'm talking about real bad things, like violence, war, drugs, racism, misogyny, homophobia, religious bigotry, poverty, and republicans. Porn has nothing on these bad boys.

    Really. Wake up.

  75. @ Stuart - I said "actually cares enough to think about the subject."
    Specifically in reference to D Collins worries, about peoples perceptions of the game being unduly influenced by the show.

    Thinking about the subject, as opposed to merely using it to support whatever belief systems, they find it useful for.

  76. @Stuart
    @D Collins

    If you have problems with my show or how it's presented, please talk to me about it. zakzsmith at hot mail dot calm.

    If you think I am not actually playing D&D, then that's just weird. Remember the first epidsode of the show is there to introduce the people who play and the episodes are only 5 minutes long.

  77. Bugbears. Bugbears. Bugbears. Bugbears. Undead. Goblins. Treasure. Killer Dungeon. Bugbears. Secret Door. Bugbears. Bugbears. Bugbears. Paladin. Bugbears. Ten Foot Pole. Bugbears. Bugbears. Bugbears. Demi-Lich. Bugbears.

  78. Critical comments about the recent issues might be better directed here:

    Please note that I'm not placing this link arbitrarily: TARGA is explicitly asking for comments at the above link.

    I now have a much greater sense of being 'in Zak's shoes', and kindly ask everyone to direct this conversation over to an area where it is specifically requested.

  79. Hey, Jim! What the heck are you talking about? Why are you getting riled up about something and not giving any kind of link or reference?

    Short: what the heck are you all talking about!? I don't want to read through almost 100 comments to find out...

  80. It seemed fitting that WOTC endorsed it.

    ... WotC personnel have also endorsed Death Frost Doom and Stonehell.

  81. hmmm... my issue with the video... the girls aint all that hot... most are not ;)

    on a more serious note, if its not to your liking DON'T watch it. say NO to DnD played by third tier porn stars! or something like that.

    I didn't find it all that shocking... or all that entertaining at this point (first 5 minutes and all). If I want shocking I'll spend an hour or so walking thru the Village in Manhattan on a Friday nite. ;)

  82. @JimLotFP WotC peeps aint the devil? Damn it!

  83. @JimLotFP: I think fun is looking pretty good about now.

    Word Verification: stifi (ha ha ha ha ha)

  84. The comments here are hilarious. :D

    @Zak: There are a bajillion videos on YouTube. That's awesome. Make whatever kind of videos you want. Hire anyone you like. Replace the dice with tickle fights if you want to. Dress up in crazy costumes, or sit around naked. It's your thing - do what you like.

    I don't have a problem with people making movies like Debbie Does Dallas II, but if it was being run on the local community TV station during the day I wouldn't agree with that. It'd be ridiculous to contact the film makers and complain about it though - the people to talk to would be the TV station. Similarly if McDonalds or Pokemon Inc hired Ron Jeremy to be their spokesman and did all sorts of interviews with him to show how edgy they were it would make no sense to contact Ron to complain about it. You'd take it up with the company. If you cared enough.

    It's pretty amusing that the single most common recurring advice people from the OSR give about publishing RPGs is "boxed sets"… because "they go on shelves in toy stores, and you could buy them for Timmy at Christmas". The whole appeal to kids and the next generation of gamers thing.

    …and now we're all ra-ra porn stars and marilyn manson shock rocker game supplements. Haha! :D

  85. @Stuart: Personally, I don't think anything could be scarier than the new Burger King character.

  86. @Stuart: Yep, that one.

    @Zak: I sent you a present.

  87. @scottsz

    Now I have no idea what you're on about, either.

    Why are people still writing to me in James comments?

    It's 2010, use e-mail. It's free.

  88. @scottsz

    maybe check that address again, 'cause I got nothin'.

  89. @Zak: What do you want email about? I said you should do whatever you want.

    The discussion of when is it appropriate to include adult content isn't a Zak specific topic. :)

  90. @Zak: Resent. Don't know how I screwed that up...

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  93. Spambots! This shit just hit the big Leagues !

  94. It would be so simple to just put a red disclaimer (style "Warning: may contain offensive language") in the description of the video...

    No one could complain of not being warned anymore.
    And you'd make sure that every single child passing by there will click on the video.

  95. @James: Time to take this stuff to a higher level.
    How about taping you DMing some Metalheads playing D&D.

    I mean, what can possibly ruin our children even more than than exposure to Porn Stars?

    Right: long haired Dudes in Leather!

  96. @ Stuart- thanks for the Tin Tin link. It was made of awesome.

  97. To me it always amazes me how folks so far out the tail of the distribution - q.v., bell curve reference - are aware of their distance from the "middle", yet unaware of the futility and awesome, truly awesome, waste of energy.