#RPG – A Thank You to my Fans


The recent nonsense directed at White Wolf/Onyx Path and the new edition of Vampire has made me step back a little and think about the situation this hobby, and I, find myself in. It’s my hope that the sheer ludicrousness of what’s been done to them, and especially the absurd accusations levelled at Mark Rein•Hagen, will wake a few people up. He’s a sweet, nice guy who – while a little naive – is the very opposite of what they accuse him of being.

I look back at everything that’s happened to me since 2010, but especially since 2012, even more so during Gamergate, and it seems incredible; beyond parody. There’s been a slow slide into insanity and while I noticed it creeping into my political and artistic home on the left first, the insanity is now on all sides.

Finding any kind of peace or comfort, creating anything in this kind of atmosphere, is difficult. It’s difficult, even without the other struggles and issues I’ve faced in that time and, thankfully, overcome.

Now I find myself at a bit of a loose end, not quite sure what I want to do with myself creatively – and how or why to go about doing it. Completing the Gor project was exhausting, not just in terms of the work and the (anticipated) negativity, but because I was acutely aware of how late it was every single day, and did everything I could to get it out sooner.

Now I’m aware that I have a rod I have made for my own back, the necessity of supporting a successful game, acclaimed by fans of the series, but knowing it’ll never get any recognition outside of that, not that I particularly seek it. Finding the energy to start or complete another project is also tough, and my hard drive is littered with drafts of short stories, another novel and a half dozen abortive game projects.

On the one hand, it’s heartening, in a way, to see that nobody is safe from these spurious accusations. On the other, it’s depressing to exist in such a stifling, judgemental, censorious and puritanical atmosphere, let alone to create anything in it. I find myself self-censoring (believe it or not) and hating myself for it. After all, if anything you do is going to be considered problematic (or degenerate) then what is the point of holding back? Yet still that pressure is there, and I hate it.

I value, more than I adequately have words to express, the people who have stuck with me throughout this journey. Professional and personal friends, customers, players, artists, writers. Your support and appreciation mean the world to me, and I’m sure it has been a crazy ride this past half-decade for you too.

I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know – for the first time in a long time – what I actually want to do next. I don’t know where to go next, whether we’ll ever get back to just having fun, sharing stories and creating worlds in our imaginations. I do know that wherever I end up going, whatever I end up doing, there are good people out there still, who appreciate the principle, honesty and integrity I try to bring to my work. Even, even especially, when it costs me.

Love to you all.



#MayRPGQ2018 Who do you like playing games with?


I do love playing games with my regular group. These days the games and the situation have a bit of a different character to what they used to. It’s different for me to have a small regular group rather than an enormous and ever-changing horde. As we’ve gotten older the regular gaming weekend has become a ‘men’s retreat’ from wives and girlfriends, from family-enforced vegetarianism and so on. A chance to recapture a bit of our youth, eat take away, stay up late and indulge vices from our teens and twenties again. Most of the same group also meets with other friends for regular games, but I live in the sticks and they live in town, so I don’t get to game as much as I would like. I keep meaning to start streaming games but time zones are a bitch…

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#AprilTTRPGmaker People who’ve helped you?

f05cff5a4bfd71d088eaf9dfe657839b--best-friend-cards-best-friends-funnySteve Jackson Games gave me (us) our first break (though I’m still sore over Munchkin).

Ubermunchkin, who wrote that first book with me.

My dad who nurtured my interest in sci-fi, fantasy and games.

Mongoose Publishing who gave me my first freelancing gigs.

Dave Allsop who trusted me with his baby.

Angus Abranson, the nexus point of the UK gaming industry and a good friend.

Long time artistic collaborator, Brad.

DarkZel – miss you all the time buddy.

Bar, who invested money at the worst possible time to do so but doesn’t hold a grudge.

The friends who stood steadfast during the storms of controversy – you know who you are.

Everyone who has supported the DarkZel scholarship.

Bonding (not bondage) through Dungeons

Real friends help you feed the body to the pigs.

Game Group As Support System

Berin Kinsman is the chief cat wrangler at Asparagus Jumpsuit. He’s a old, old roleplaying gamer, and blogs about creativity at BerinKinsman.com

To be clear, I don’t want the title of this post to mislead anyone. Your game group is not a 12-step program, and your game night is not a group therapy session. You should not walk into a room full of people prepared to have some light-hearted fun and unload all of your problems upon them. However, there are many benefits to be gained from the simple fact that you are a member of a social group, and have regularly scheduled fun time planned.

Social Life As Escapism
The mere fact that you’re at game night means you’re not at work, you’re not at school, and you’re not at home. You’re away from whatever situation is causing you stress, and hopefully away from people causing you problems. Even if you’re not talking to your fellow gamers about your issues, you’ve given yourself a break. Take some time to get distracted, not think about it, and gain some perspective. You can deal with whatever is weighing on your mind later.

These People Like You
You may not be close friends with people in your game group, you may only get together to play, but they like you enough to hang out with you. You’ve all got at least one thing in common, the game. It may not seem like much, but it’s something. It’s an opportunity to make some closer friends, network, and maybe expand your social contacts beyond the game. It’s human contact, which is something a lot of people lack in their lives.

A Network Equals Options

Odds are, if someone in your group isn’t going through things similar to what you’re going through, they know someone who is, or has. They know someone they can refer you to for help. They may even be able to provide you some help, even if it’s just an ear willing to listen. I know there are risks, that’ you’re afraid of being made fun of, that you’ll be ejected from the group, that things will end up worse. Use your best judgment, and approach a group member you trust one-on-one. You might be pleasantly surprised at the results.