A Note on the Smearing of the ‘Unwoke’ in #TTRPG Spaces

(Just said to Skip Williams, RE: The Woke Vs Slept war in TTRPGs, worth saying more widely I think.)

I feel that you are mischaracterising a lot of the concerns by giving them an easy label and smear. This post also whiffs of implicit bigotry, just going the opposite direction to usual.

There’s a significant portion of people concerned bout the way things are going, for the same reason we were concerned about Pat Pulling, or the Vampire Panic, or Jack Thompson, or Anita Sarkeesian.

There’s a significant number of people smearing the inventors of the games, and the games of the past – from a position of ignorance and perversely, and wilfully distorted perception.

D&D wasn’t Satanic, Heavy Metal didn’t make people suicidal, and games (as a whole) weren’t murder simulators. The ceaseless accusations of racism/sexism/homophobia/transphobia etc are spurious and having a negative effect on the craft, far more than BADD ever did.

We need diversity in design, topic, genre, rules, approaches, emphasis. Turning every game into Captain Planet doesn’t increase diversity, it diminishes it. We’re also sacrificing simulationism, verisimilitude, suspension of disbelief, historicity, consistency and hyperreality for no real gain.

IIRC a lot of this outreach doesn’t seem to be working. The gender etc proportions are (again, IIRC) worse than they were around the 3rd Edition era, but that was probably the tail-end of the Vampire effect. Expanding the audience makes sense, doing so by cannibalizing and sacrificing your existing audience does not. Let’s try to steelman both sides of this debate, shall we?

One response to “A Note on the Smearing of the ‘Unwoke’ in #TTRPG Spaces

  1. It’s always a bit frustrating when some valiant soul paints a picture of the ‘old days’ as being some toxic bathtub full of evil white men… vs. what I saw when I was there, running a group in high school that was half women and about as racially diverse as our small town could provide for.
    Not that we thought we were doing anything special or waving flags about it. That’s just who our friends were.

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