Sunday, June 16, 2013

LotFP's Better Than Any Man BANNED!

So yesterday was Free RPG Day, and we've had reports of stores keeping LotFP's offering, Better Than Any Man, behind the counter so you had to ask to get it.

No problem there, I can understand how a store's staff don't want to keep a look out to make sure little Timmy doesn't start looking through the thing explicitly marked (and created...) to not be suitable for children.

Also stores warning people that the adventure was not your usual fare, which is fine as well (make sure nobody who would be offended walks off with one if you can help it...), but some hadn't read the adventure too closely and at least one customer was warned that the adventure was all about killing children. (It isn't.)

There were also reports of stores not carrying it at all, with one quote "This is a family store. We don't carry R-rated games like that." Fair enough, businesses should have 100% control over their stock to maintain whatever image they see fit.

And then there was this.

Anyway, long story short - the owner told me (proudly) that he was boycotting LOTFP and Free RPG Day from now on because of the content of the adventure.

Reasons given were:

1.) "This is the kind of shit that got 'our' hobby boiled alive back in the 80's' and I don't want to support anything that could cause an industry-wide witch hunt."


2.) "I don't want to risk parents getting their hands on the adventure and garnering a bunch of bad press for the store."

 Oh, and James - FYI. To hear him tell it, he plans on cornering you at the next convention you both attend to personally tell you how you're ruining the industry.

Ah yes, the awful 80s, when this hobby was in a total crisis and in danger of extinction because people who knew nothing about it talked about it lots and lots and lots and lots in newspapers and on TV.

Anyway, I remarked on G+ that I indeed expected this sort of thing, and would be disappointed if they didn't happen.

I say that for two reasons:

First, it's silly. Silly silly silly for people to get truly upset by fictional nonsense, like the world is going to change because an RPG adventure has a picture of a boobie, that the world is going to go crazy because there's a child-sculpting wizard. I'm a fan of silliness.

Yet it isn't so silly, is it? People who want to suppress ideas are the really the dangerous people in this world, and my including content like this in part an effort to expose these Gatekeepers of Imagination as the fools and would-be fascists that they are. I feel like I'm on the side of Truth and Justice and Freedom to have these people against me, and as a creative type I have a duty to fight this fight. Ludicrous as that may sound. Guys like Lenny Bruce and George Carlin were before my time, but I remember the PMRC and Congressional Hearings and D&D getting crucified in the media (SUICIDE! SATANISM!) and in the 90s oh no Mortal Kombat showing blood on home consoles was the worst thing ever... it's no good to appease these people. I may be working in an utterly insignificant field culturally, but still, standing up to this sort of pressure is not only the right thing to do, it feels naughty because the respectable people hate it. And it's fun to be naughty, and that fun would go away if people were all reasonable and shit about this sort of thing.

Second reason: It's great publicity. Thus the sensationalistic post title.

The solution to all this is really very simple. If you don't like what I do, if you really really don't like what I do and you want to see something else to make your hobby a better place, here is the solution:

You do that something else. You make it happen.

I'll keep doing what I want to do.

And then we can leave each other alone, and we'll both be happy. Unless you're an asshole.

(you can comment on this post here)