#RPG – The Politics of Postmortem Studios

f2388bfcfd4cad5fbf8dd05fa090cf7a.pngIn the run-up to the US mid-term elections, several game companies put out statements on their political stances and exhorting people to vote in particular ways. This struck me as a little crass, and somewhat beyond the remit of a games company, an entertainer or – indeed – an artist.

This is far from the first time that this has happened, with games companies ‘excommunicating’ fans with particular outlooks, or even outright telling them ‘we don’t want you’. In a time of increasing division, this is even more divisive and this seems – to me – to be especially unhelpful when games and other diversions are a way to reach across the aisle and to humanise each other.

Still, I thought it best to explicitly state my political position as a company writer, game designer, artist, employer – and as an individual. So first, my position as a company, and the one I would prefer (but not demand) that anyone who works with me adopts…

I do not care who you are or what you believe. Your politics are not relevant to whether you enjoy my games or not. I do not want to deny anyone access to my material and while it is inevitably, somewhat, coloured by my experience and outlook, I make no demands and exclude nobody. Whatever your politics, creed, colour, sexuality, gender identity or ice-cream preference you’re welcome to play and enjoy my games, to work with me ore interact in any which way you prefer.

Hopefully, that’s clear enough. The TL;DR is that I don’t care about your personal politics, and you shouldn’t care about mine. Games are a way to look past all that, see each other as people, set aside politics and other divisions and to just have fun.

So as regards my personal politics, if you care…

I am a left-libertarian on the political compass, waaaaay down on the bottom left. Ideologically I’m an Anarchist-without-adjectives, but closest to an Anarcho-Technocrat. Ideological ideals rarely survive contact with the real world however, and my guiding principle from Anarchism is to maximise freedom for the greatest number of people, which in the current sociopolitical climate leads me to adopt Socialism as the best option to meet that goal.

I am pro free speech, for anything that falls short of The Harm Principle and believe the role of the state should be as guarantor and defender of people’s rights, rather than a source of constriction, censorship or oppression – and I extend that to the private sphere. Those rights should be as equal as possible between everyone, without special treatment either positive or negative. I believe we should work as hard as we can to maximise people’s opportunities so that everyone has the best possible chance to achieve their full potential.

I’m also an atheist, apparently I’m obliged to mention that.

Overriding anything else I think or believe, pragmatism and correct information has to come first. Effective action can only proceed from accurate facts, and pragmatism requires compromise where such is possible without losing touch with those base principles.

You may have heard things about me that seem to be in conflict with these ideals. There is a lot of bullshit going around, mainly – ironically – because I choose to speak up about the regressive, censorious behaviour of others in the industry who – also ironically – often consider themselves progressive. If you want clarity, my door is always open.

Behind all this is, of course, is an argument over politics, art, political art, the ‘personal as political’ and all that jazz.

Can art be political? Sure. To an extent, we can’t help but project our own politics and worldviews into what we create. This is more obvious in some forms of art than others. That doesn’t mean that art has to be political, nor that it has to beat people over the head with politics.

There’s a term for wilfully, evangelical political art, and that is propaganda.

That’s also behind what I call the ‘Christian Rock Problem’. The reason Christian Rock is so fucking terrible is because it puts its religious message first, over and above the concern of making it any good. This is also why Rage Against the Machine’s breakout album is the only good one they did.

  • So, art can be apolitical.
  • Art can be about politics.
  • Art can be political, and that’s when it becomes propaganda.

Art to any purpose can be worthwhile and beautiful. Even a TV commercial or a cereal box, even a Soviet-era political poster.

In divisive times like this, streaming art and games according to political tribalism only stands to worsen things and to increase the polarising effects we already suffer from social media bubbles, tabloids and tribalistic news channels. Games, hobbies, sports, these are places where we can meet across these lines and understand each other – or they should be. I cannot stand that people are willfully and deliberately politicising these spaces and making the problem worse, not better.

If you are interested in my more political games, feel free to check out The Little Grey Book and @ctiv8.

If there are any specifics you’d like me to clarify my positions on, I’d appreciate the opportunity to do so. Feel free to ask below or via Ask.fm/grimachu

#RPG – Stock Art – Celtic Smith

257764We have a new piece of stock art, by a new artist, up for sale. This piece depicting a celtic-style smith, hard at work in his forge.

Postmortem Studios sells a metric shitload of stock art, so if you’re a budding (or even established) games studio or want to add a little flair to your handouts, we’re your one-stop shop for all things artsy fartsy. There’s even a 400 piece bundle, which makes a great ‘starter pack’ for amateur publishers, and a 100 piece bundle with a more varied array of artists and styles, sales of which go to support our artist scholarship.

If you’re an artist we’re always looking for more contributors and if you need to make some quick cash, we might be willing to buy unsold art you have to sell on as stock art. You get money short-term, we get money long-term, and you get The Dreaded Exposure to a potential audience of new clients. Don’t hesitate to get in touch, and follow us on social media for opportunities.

Please do get in touch if you’re interested.

Postmortem Studios Apparel: ‘Dead Tired of Zombies’

deadtired.png

You can get this, and a bunch of other cool and nerdy shirts, over on TEESPRING.

#RPG – Postmortem Studios November Update

robert-hooper-1311-1680x1050

It’s November, and about time for another update, as we Brits look forward to setting shit on fire and blowing things up.

I’m trying to get my PATREON up to over $200 a month. This is primarily to support my work on YOUTUBE, but also supports my blogging and other work. You get access to periodic exclusive content, you can request video topics,  you can get discounts on apparel and books.

As for me, my endless wrangles with the Department of Work and Pensions seem to have come to a (positive) end, which takes off a lot of pressure and allows me to take more risks and invest more in my work in order to get out of that situation, as well as to farm out more work to others.

There will be plenty of openings as we move towards the end of the year and into the new year, for writers (Gor and D6 familiarity a bonus) and for artists (send me your links and portfolios!).

The Darkzel Scholarship will be coming up soon, my regular fundraiser to help out young, impoverished or otherwise hard-up artists. So keep an eye out for that. The fundraiser runs for three months and entries are welcome up to a month after. This year we’ll be returning to the format of providing a lump, ‘prize’, sum to one lucky applicant.

Postmortem Studios will have its own, censorship-free site next year for direct sales, insulating me from issues on existing sales sites – provided everything goes well – and I hope to be able to provide a safe haven for other, censored RPG and nerd-media writers there too.

Nanowrimo? Not sure, maybe, if I do it’ll be short stories.

While I have you, remember that my new Twitter accounts are @mort_post and @grimasaur, and given that G+ is going the way of the dodo, a MeWe account too. See you there!

Anyway, fire away with any questions or suggestions and I’ll try to get cracking!

#RPG – A Month of Monsters – Dominar’s Gaze

image (12)You can buy this piece of stock art, for as little as $1 this month as part of a promotion. We have a promotion running all month, 31 pieces of monstrous stock art, one a day until all are at on sale culminating on the 31st for Halloween.

This piece depicts a deformed woman, covered in a mass of eyes.

Some spies do their deeds in the shadows, hidden completely from sight. Disguises of all kinds, magical and mundane, let them do their work. Others ‘hide’ in plain sight, relying on people’s horror, disgust, and even compassion to complete their work – some without even knowing that is what they are doing. Dark magic can twist people into grotesque puppets, and certain inheritors of the magic of the Tyrant Orb delight in making ‘improvements’ to their victims.

To read the rest of this entry, with statistics for 5e D&D, please subscribe to me on Patreon for as little as $1 a month.

#RPG – A Month of Monsters – The Great Race

image (11)You can buy this piece of stock art, for as little as $1 this month as part of a promotion. We have a promotion running all month, 31 pieces of monstrous stock art, one a day until all are at on sale culminating on the 31st for Halloween.

This piece depicts a member of the Lovecraftian Great Race of Yith.

The Great Race’s members were immense rugose cones ten feet high, and with head and other organs attached to foot-thick, distensible limbs spreading from the apexes. They spoke by the clicking or scraping of huge paws or claws attached to the end of two of their four limbs, and walked by the expansion and contraction of a viscous layer attached to their vast, ten-foot bases.

To read the rest of this entry, with statistics for 5e D&D, please subscribe to me on Patreon for as little as $1 a month.

#RPG – A Month of Monsters – Doppelganger Perfectionist

image (10)You can buy this piece of stock art, for as little as $1 this month as part of a promotion. We have a promotion running all month, 31 pieces of monstrous stock art, one a day until all are at on sale culminating on the 31st for Halloween.

This piece depicts a grey alien, or perhaps something else.

Doppelganger perfectionists seek a deeper, more perfect understanding of the people and things that they imitate. Their replication of other people and creatures goes deeper and allows them to replicate them more perfectly – even to the point of recreating supernatural abilities. Of course, gaining this specialist knowledge requires getting under the skin of their subjects – literally.

To read the rest of this entry, with statistics for 5e D&D, please subscribe to me on Patreon for as little as $1 a month.