#RPG Fistful of Horror 1: RELEASED!

Continuing in the tradition of the 100 Adventure Seeds books and Fistful of Fantasy, comes Fistful of Horror, five one-page game inspiration ideas with the legend, the truth and three or more story ideas for your games.

In this booklet:

The Seven: An horrific circus with seven rings, one for each circle of hell.

She Keeps Her Council: Something evil and manipulative squats in a squalid sink estate, a no-go area where the police will never investigate. Its power grows.

Beauty Never Fades: Most strip clubs are tacky, horrid, disappointing places. Not this one, but what could motivate such beauty to work at such a small, hidden place for – seemingly – little reward.

Hand and Fist: A pair of demon hunters, on the run from the law – who don’t believe the occult even exists. These men are heroes to the occult underground and rely on them to support them and hide them, but they’re not what they seem.

Windows to the Soul: What if madness is contagious? What if the murderous impulse is alive and has a destructive will of its own?

You can get it HERE.

 

#Gamergate – #Weheart Games too – that’s the point

Iheart
A response to weheart.github.io – We feel it is the actions of ‘Social Justice Warriors’ who with shaming, mob tactics, blacklisting, mass blocking, insults, harassment, threats and attempts to control games media, production and content who have damaged the gaming community and we’re making a stand against it. Both sides are predominantly left/liberal. We’re just anti-authoritarian and want things to progress naturally.

What is #GamerGate ?

Dagons-Lair-for-iPhone-screenshot-002This question seems to be popping up a lot and there’s a lot of obfuscation going on from the social justice warriors*, the gaming media (such as it is) and others. So here’s a quick primer into what’s going on (or you could start HERE):

An indie computer game developer – who happens to be a woman (irrelevant) – was exposed as having cheated on her boyfriend (irrelevant) with a bunch of guys (irrelevant) who happened to hold positions in gaming media and to have given her all sorts of booster articles and kudos (supremely fucking relevant).

Obviously, this at least looks dodgy as fuck, even if it’s all above board and just sexytimes rather than payment in kind. It calls into question journalistic integrity, which is what should divide professional gaming/journalism sites like Kotaku/Forbes/Vice etc from ‘mere’ games bloggers and Youtube personalities who are just doing what they do for the ‘lulz’ and the fun of it.

The conflict of interest should be obvious.

When this hit, however, it was ignored and/or suppressed by most of that same gaming journalism field, which again, looks dodgy as hell since it’s their ethics and transparency that are under question.

That was, however, just the spark of what has become a more generally skeptical and critical eye that has turned on other conflicts of interest (such as PR or consultancy businesses also run by games journalists) and long standing issues with corruption via threats, blacklisting, pre-order culture etc in games journalism.

It has ALSO become tangled up in a general backlash against the kind of judgemental, gamer-hating, ‘everything you like is bad and wrong’ articles which have also been common in the last few years, along with the lionisation of known fraud Anita Sarkeesian.

In short, it’s been a long time coming.

It has been complicated, of course, by trolls and by Social Justice Warriors who – along with the people under suspicion of corruption and ethical breaches – are using the fact that it all happened to start from a love septagon involving a woman to deflect into their existing narrative that it’s all to do with crying man-babies who don’t like women in their games. Unfortunately, accusations of misogyny, sexism, racism etc still carry a lot of currency and power in silencing people and the hate towards gamers is – at this point – well entrenched.

What it is really about is:

  • Journalistic ethics and integrity.
  • Irritation with clickbaiting.
  • Annoyance at being constantly demonised and criticised by people who are supposed to love your hobbies.
  • The many hateful articles and the doubling down on censorship and slandering of the fanbase sites have indulged in since this broke.
  • SJW censorship backlash.

This is also part of a wider cultural problem, affecting many forms of media and play.

As background, it’s worth noting that gamers have a very well justified siege mentality towards this sort of thing and wider nerd culture even more so. You can trace it back at least to Fredric Wertham and Seduction of the Innocent, via, Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons, Tipper Gore, Jack Thompson, MMO scare stories and all the rest. In that context, little wonder people are suspicious and react badly to their concerns being brushed off as some, supposed, gamer-inherent misogyny (which has also been the basis of much slandering and hatred directed towards games and game producers themselves).

*’Social Justice Warriors’ (or SJWs) means the kind of Tumblrina, vicious, nasty online bully who likes to pretend at being progressive and liberal while being authoritarian, nasty and everything they claim to hate.

Chronicle City: Forever Summer

ForeverSummerSo I finished my first project for Chronicle City (one of many) and it’s called Forever Summer. It’s kind of like a children’s version of Over the Edge. You can buy the PDF HERE though we don’t have an ETA for print yet.

We get more money if you buy it from our web store.

Fabulous art by Manda and it’s something of a career departure for me. If any blogs, ‘casts or sites want to chat to me about it I’d appreciate the publicity and I’ll make myself available as much as I can.

Forever Summer is a role-playing game of children’s adventure.

Evoking the likes of Goonies, Monster Squad, Eerie Indiana and Gravity Falls, Forever Summer drops you into the sleepy town of Oceanview for a long summer of adventure, mystery, thrills and excitement.
Behind every door lies a mystery, an adventure, or something scary!
FSkidsForever Summer features:
A simple system, suitable for children and beginners.
Details on Oceanview – a whole town of strange adventures!
Quick and easy play, suitable for fill in games and convention scenarios.

SPELLCASTING! G-A-M-I-N-G

wordplay

I’m fascinated by other systems for games than using rolling. Rolling is great but other ways of determining the element of chance are also interesting. Cards are a popular one, I think I’ve seen dominoes done, coin-tosses and rock-paper scissors (Mind’s Eye Theatre) was great for impromptu play when you didn’t have your other materials with you. There are also resource management systems too with beads and limited resources to be spent.

I’ve tinkered with bits and pieces of different things around this, sometimes keeping the dice but getting rid of the numerics, sometimes losing the dice. Irrepressible! uses what I – humbly – think is a great system where you draw beads from a bag until your luck runs out. The Description System uses words instead of numerical statistics, even though it does use dice.

I love The Description System because it works really well for modelling narrative importance. The bigger and stronger the description, the bigger and stronger whatever it is in the story. It directly reflects narrative significance in a way that reflects fiction (unless it’s Game of Thrones).

I got thinking, after The Description System and after another – currently aborted project using poker – about other ways to do it. What I like about The Description System is that rather than maths/probability skills being primary it was English skills. I’ve been thinking, purely on a theoretical basis, about other ways to set game rules that work on non-mathematical skills, specifically English. Games can also be great educational tools and again, this has largely been in the mathematics arena. How great to ‘gamify’ vocabulary?

So, what’s a good option?

SCRABBLE!

How could you define a character?

A few defining words that – if used – could count as bonus letters.

Difficulty determined by score or word-length (I don’t think I’d use the board though).

Synergistic words could give extra bonuses. A fire mage using the word ‘hot’ as their play for an action would get extra score or letters. A swordsman using ‘strike’ or ‘hit’ would get the same.

Of course, making easy plays would leave you with difficult letters still in your rack, which makes ‘exhaustion’ and other issues build over time.

Best of all it would be very, very difficult to min-max or game the system and it would include a measure of player skill.

Of course… that might put some people off.

Joining Chronicle City Full Time

chronicle_city_final1-300x88

Gman

While you’re all temporarily paying attention to me please go and support the Kickstarter for Red Phone Box, a story cycle to which I’m a contributor and also includes Warren Ellis.

Chronicle City Expands
Chronicle City is expanding its operations with the hiring-on of James ‘Grim’ Desborough as the Creative Director of the company alongside its founder, Angus Abranson.

James will have particular focus on developing new intellectual properties for the company, overseeing product line development and moving forward with licensed properties as the company matures and develops.

“I am excited – and nervous – to be working for Chronicle City. I have known Angus a great many years and have worked for and with him in various guises in the past. I believe Chronicle City has the potential to become a driving force in modern role-playing and I relish the opportunity to work in other arenas such as card and board game development. I particularly hope to bring some innovation and attention to licensed properties and hope that I can bring some of my particular style and thought to everything that we do.” – James said.

James is an Origins Award winning writer and has worked for Wizards of the Coast, Steve Jackson Games, Cubicle 7 Entertainment and many others. He has been freelancing since the 1990s and has worked full-time with his own indie company, Postmortem Studios, since 2004.

Chronicle City has a lot of plans this year, both with the expansion of our third party publishing programme as well as with licensing and in-house design of our own settings and game lines. Appointing James as Creative Director will give our own properties, and the licenses we’re working, on a dedicated overseer who can work day-to-day with our design teams and developers. James is the first fulltime appointment to the company and we have a few more team members to be announced in the coming weeks. 2013 is going to be a very interesting year for the company and I’m glad James has been able to join us for the journeys ahead.” – added Angus.

Chronicle City is a new British based games publisher set up by multi-award winning publisher Angus Abranson (ex-Cubicle 7; Leisure Games). Chronicle City are working with a number of companies and designers to publish their games, as well as designing their own role-playing, card and board games.

You can find out more information about Chronicle City, and their games, at:

Webstore: http://shop.chroniclecity.co.uk/
Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/chroniclecity
Twitter: @Chronicle_City
Email: info@chroniclecity.com

If you want to contact James (Grim) directly with questions please contact via twitter – @grimachu – or via email to grim AT postmort DOT demon DOT co DOT uk

***

I’ve been itching to make this announcement for some time but legal and financial details take ages to sort out. This has also been part of the reason I’ve been less manically and publicly busy for some time – despite working away on Machinations of the Space Princess.

Postmortem Studios will continue, albeit  much slower and much more self-indulgent in terms of pace and content. Machinations will be finished and I’ll be taking other outstanding projects with me to Chronicle City where they can get a much greater amount of exposure and a wider audience.

January next year would be Postmortem Studios’ 10th anniversary but running your own company, however small, is exhausting. Especially when it’s just you. I have become increasingly frustrated by the level of quality and the amount of output I’ve been capable of doing as a one-man show and yes, my depression has been a factor in this. Working with others – while being higher stakes – should be much better for my mental health and take a great deal of pressure off me.

Working with Chronicle City will give me an opportunity to reach a wider audience, to develop new, exciting and quality RPGs and other games to the hobby, to travel and to pay back a hobby and a number of fellow freelancers and co-workers who have been very good to me since I first cracked open a Fighting Fantasy book in the 1980s. Special thanks are also due to my wife and my anonymous patron, both of whom have been unflinching in their support of me.

I also hope to be able to devote a little more time to my fiction writing, perhaps tying in with some of our products.

I’ve always been an idea person and I hope that as Creative Director I’ll be able to bring that capability – interesting, deep and innovative ideas – to everything that we do.

Machinations of the Space Princess Supporters
Work for Chronicle City is going to take up an increasing amount of my time which ma delay completion on the project. I was going to be aiming for May at latest before but this shift in roles and responsibilities may delay that by up to another three months. I hope you’ll be understanding, happy for me and will consider that – on the plus side – it gives Satine more time to work on the art.

Huzzah!

Boys Smell & Girls Have Kooties

Shirts Vs Skins

Yet more gender-wars have been erupting on the internet. Yesterday it was about ConTessa an online con intended to step aside from the gender wars and promote the positive contribution of women in gaming and general nerdery. Ostensibly a great idea. Ironically, and somewhat predictably, it immediately became a lightning-rod for the gender wars and this was in no small part due to the policies and self-described nature of the event in its rough-draft guidelines (it explicitly excluded men from aspects of the con EDIT: And still does in its second incarnation).

Today it’s the #1ReasonWhy hashtag on Twitter which is being used to try and describe the trials and tribulations, under-representation etc of women in the gaming (and more general nerdery) industry. Again, predictably, this fairly rapidly descended into man-bashing and this from people who claim to be anti-sexism.

In both cases the laudable and original aim of promoting female contributions and driving for egalitarianism has been undermined by its own proponents. In the case of LadyCon/ConTessa because of its policy that no men are to be involved in the organisational or presentational side of it. In the case of #1ReasonWhy it’s not only the parade of sexism but also the condemnation of anything men might happen to like as being badwrongfun.

This, needless to say, does not foster an atmosphere of tolerance or understanding and appears to those of us sensitised to unfairness and sexism to be deeply hypocritical.

Judge Judy and Executioner

The fact is that the world of the do-gooder is as riddled with presumption, prejudice and privilege as the injustices that they attack. The presumption, in these cases, that men go out of their way to exclude or dismiss women. The idea that the things that men like and want in their games or media are necessarily bad or necessarily exclude women from liking the same things.

Prejudice also exists in other arenas such as erotica, pornography and sex-work. Often from the very people who claim to be out to help. Today that was an Irish organisation’s ‘Man Up’ campaign on Twitter against domestic violence which failed to take into account that men can be victims too and that ‘man up’ means to endure in silence – not helpful.

Previously I’ve seen sex-workers vilified for enjoying their work and have seen them be confused with human trafficking issues. I acknowledge that my more libertine point of view may not fit everyone but I don’t see the harm so long as it’s all consensual and by choice. Same with people who make porn and who suffer a great deal from nasty commentary, lack of understanding and judgement from people who would consider themselves ‘progressive‘.

When you look at an entire industry and broad-brush paint the men in it as sexist, self-interested or conspiring (somehow) against women you are being as sexist as the very few men that would actually fit that description.

Part of the problem here is the presumption that everyone else is ‘like you’ and that things need to be homogenised and changed in order to fit you, or your group’s, desires. Homogeneity isn’t equality and I doubt you’d see people argue that Die Hard needs more time spent on romance or Pride and Prejudice needs more explosions. ‘Games should be for everyone‘ is a frankly facile and stupid thing to say. More ‘There should be games for everyone’ (and there are even if they don’t necessarily meet with massive commercial success).

This homogenisation would mean a loss of diversity, not a gain. Women cannot presume that men react to these games/comics etc the same way that they do or indeed even that other women necessarily react or think the same way they do. It’s much better to argue for addition than for change since change attacks and removes something that someone else loves. That’s going to lose good will and cost opportunities to make points and create change.


Accept Diversity

People like a lot of things. People like different things. That one person reacts to something negatively or perceives it as negative doesn’t mean that it is.

Some people like curry, some people like cucumber finger sandwiches. Some people like to ogle Lara Craft while they put her through a gymnastics routine (and some of those are women) others don’t.

It undermines your message of acceptance and diversity if you fail to accept and accommodate the needs and desires of others. It invites people to ignore your needs and desires in return.

To take an example from the feminist movement of a breakdown of this sort, some meetings and rallies have had a ‘Women born women’ policy. That is to say no m2f transsexuals permitted on the grounds that they’re ‘not real women’.

Now, this is objectively true at a chromosomal and morphological level AND most likely at an experiential level growing up pre-transition (life experience as a male is going to mean different perceptions and exposure to different experiences than growing up female). However, it seriously undermines any sort of egalitarian principle and plays into the same kind of prejudice that lead to two girls beating up a trans woman in a restaurant toilet. They regarded the situation as being that of a Peeping Tom and again, one can understand that POV even if one disagrees with the outcome.

Creating a women only space, implicitly or explicitly, is not going to foster communication. It’s going to be nothing more than a cheerleading exercise. It’s only going to attract the faithful (and Cockatoo Cichlids) and is going to turn a lot of people off who might have useful insights but just happen to have the wrong gender plumbing – and that’s what we’re trying to fight against, right?

ECHO, Echo, echo, echo…

A ‘safe space’, a cheerleader-only space, doesn’t foster communication or solutions to problems. It creates an echo chamber, a positive feedback loop. These kind of closed ‘yes men’ situations are found to lead to extremism. In a very real sense they make compromise and accommodation less likely, not more likely and create levels of alienation from the cause that can cost potential allies.

Dissent is Not Attack

A big part of the problem with these arguments is that any kind of dissent or disagreement is taken as an attack or an insult when this needn’t be the case. Ironically, the same people who are happy to ‘call people on their shit’ are profoundly unwilling to countenance any protest when they’re ‘called on THEIR shit’.

Robust and worthwhile ideas, theories, concepts are able to withstand criticism and they come out all the stronger for it. This is why Peer Review exists in science and why people work so hard to find problems with scientific theories. If it can resist being proven wrong, it’s a good theory. If people find valid criticisms of the way you’re conducting your social agenda, it might be worth taking a look.

Add, Don’t Take Away

So, is there a solution to all this? I think there is and that’s ‘Make Good Art‘. Add to what is here, don’t take away from it. The problem is not half naked women in games. There’s nothing actually, inherently wrong with catering to majority male sexuality (especially if you audience is predominantly male). The problem is the lack of other options.

Things are changing, additions are being made but this never seems to be enough and is rarely acknowledged. Dragon Age and Mass Effect get as much criticism as praise, despite making massive strides for gender equality in storylines and more grown-up and intricate storylines (if we pretend DA2 didn’t exist anyway).

There are games such as Borderlands and Lollipop Chainsaw that cock a wink at and make fun of the existing stereotypes and turn them on their head (seriously, is anyone in BL2 NOT gay/bi?)  but, again, get attacked.

Like I say, we need to add, not take away. Increase our game options and more people are happy, attack someone over something they love and try to take it away and you’ll see their heels get dug in.

For tabletop games the barrier to entry is practically non-existent these days. There’s no reason whatsoever you can’t add to the diversity and scope of RPGs or boardgames but there’s no need to start from a position of ‘man stuff is bad and wrong’. That’s about as mature as ‘girls have kooties’.

For computer games there’s a bit more of a barrier but looking at the #1reasonwhy tag there’s all these women with company start-up experience, design experience, software programming skills and so on so why aren’t they chasing down some venture capital, creating a start-up company or making more indie games? Where’s the Kickstarters for girl games rather than for films bashing boy games?

Can we honestly not accept that different people like different things (sometimes based on gender) and that this is OK and not fundamentally evil? Do we see equal complaint in areas where men are under-represented or sidelined? Where’s the campaign decrying the evil fact that online Bingo is exclusively marketed to women?

Be What You Want to See in the World

If you want to see a more tolerant and inclusive world it falls upon you to be that and most people, taken on good faith, are just out to create things that they love and enjoy themselves. They’re not out to hurt you or even to purposefully exclude you (unless they’re the Westboro Baptist Church). Men want more women to be into games. They want partners who understand their love of Zelda/Xmen/D&D very much.

If you want people to be accepting, you have to be accepting.

If you want gender not to matter, it has to not matter to you.

If you want to see games that emphasise X over Y or Z then you need to make it happen.

Re-Railing for Dummies

A lot of the time these kinds of debates get nowhere because each side is looking for something to justify ignoring the other side. Even legitimate questions or points are dismissed. In the arena of the gender wars Derailing for Dummies is a particular culprit, as is Feminism 101 and the horrendously sexist term ‘Mansplaining’. Armed camps is no way to proceed and like accusations of emotional argument, PMS or bitchiness these things are the WMD of discussion.

As such I propose an open invitation to a calm and open blog debate where no question or dissent is considered stupid or out of bounds and such dismissals are disallowed. One on one – to avoid dogpiling – and with a limit of one post per day or even week.

Without communication there can be no progress and as someone who is staunchly egalitarian and has become increasingly turned off to women’s complaints and concerns by the very people supposedly promoting them, the fact that we seem unable to have that communication pains me.

Topics to be covered might include:

  • Why the demographical bias is as it is.
  • What can usefully be done to change this.
  • Fostering productive communication.
  • Intergender Misunderstandings
  • Examples of good practice.

Just off the top of my head. My debate partner could choose several of their own and I’m sure any debate would throw up new items.

Pax.

I have tried to keep this post as calm and explanatory as possible, as open as possible. Some will no doubt take it as yet another opportunity to misinterpret, misunderstand and/or give me a good kicking but I present it in good faith.

Machinations: Music & Games

I’m not a huge music guy most of the time. Sure, I’ve been to a few gigs and I often have music streaming or playing in the background but it’s not one of the things that fires me up. Art and reading – after gaming – those are my things.

Music does become more important when playing and when writing though. My regular group I play with in Reading hardly ever plays without music playing and something appropriate too. Lots of film soundtracks, game soundtracks, ambient music that builds mood without getting in the way. My other regular group, we do without music and that’s alright too. It has its own advantages – less distraction and more effectiveness of descriptions.

When I’m writing a game though, then music becomes more important. It’s part of the way I establish the right mood, get the inspirational juices flowing and help shape the ol’ noggin into working in the right aesthetic.

For ’45 I was listening to a lot of rockabilly, psychobilly and gothabilly music.

For Agents of SWING I made a playlist of all the top 10 singles (that weren’t crap) from 1960 to 1979 along with a few TV themes.

For Machinations I’ve been listening to the kind of metal and prog rock I haven’t listened to since I was a kid, along with concept albums across other genres and 70s and 80s film soundtracks.

It really does help.

Board & Card Games at TheGameCrafter

Recently I uploaded three of my board/card games to The Game Crafter which allows for Print on Demand board and card games to be created. The only outstanding board/card game of mine that I haven’t yet uploaded is Lady Bexington’s Home for Wayward Zombies and that’s because the sales on this site – so far – don’t allow for it. I thought,though, it might be useful for people to get a look at what you get for your money and for me to offer a presentation both on the games themselves and on The Game Crafter as a site for offering POD board/card games through.

Steamed is my simple, fast game of steam-powered mecha duelling. The card quality is excellent, though the cutting is a little bit rough around the edges. The game board isn’t that thick but that’s not really a problem for this game. They offer larger boards for bigger games which look to be of greater thickness/quality. The cards are big and very well printed with excellent quality, though they are just a tiny bit thin for the card stands. Out of the box this isn’t a problem but later on with wearing you may find the cards sliding free of the holders. This version includes the Tactical Cards expansion, which are the little cards you see in the middle.

Steamed sells at TGC for $17.99 (Around £12.00, but shipping outside the US is a bitch).

Cthentacle is the successor game to Hentacle and, overall, much better executed. This version of the game includes every character and every card from every set, along with all the optional rules. That’s a shitload of cards. Again the print quality is excellent though the cards are just the slightest bit thin. The cutting issues show up a bit more on the black-edged cards but really don’t look that bad. I consider this to be the definitive and best edition of Cthentacle, though I’m under no illusions that most people buy it to actually play 😛

Cthentacle sells at TGC for $34.99 (Around £24.00 but, again, shipping outside the US is a bitch).

Final Straw is my game of highschool shooting satire. It was always going to be a controversial topic and I somewhat misjudged the American market. Europeans often find the whole US gun culture darkly amusing (gallows humour). The game is actually more about the aftermath and the blame game that goes on. In the Game Crafter edition the quality of the game comes through much better and the game pieces are excellent, though the little plastic round tokens are a little thin. The dice and the ‘meeple’ are great. Again the black border shows up the cutting issues, but these are minor. I would hope that the quality and value comes through in the hardcopy version.

Final Straw sells at TGC for $29.99 (Around £20.00 but, yet again, shipping outside the US is a bitch).

The Game Crafter is great for running off proofs but does not seem to have anything like the same through-traffic that sites like RPGNOW and Drivethru do. There are promotional tools but they seem to have limited impact. For POD the quality can’t be beaten and it is probably worth taking demo sets that you get printed off to proof the games to conventions and so on. The major sticking point for anyone outside the USA is that the shipping costs are exorbitant. To order Cthentacle on non-priority, non-tracked post via USPS to the UK is $25.00 (£17.00!).  By comparison, I could ship through a discount shipping service, such as MyHermes, from the UK to the US for £3-4 ($6.00 or so).

For people outside the US TGC is only really an option for proofs of games and the die-hard fan. They really need to find either:

a) Other shipping services.
b) A European print partner.

Continental Europe is nuts for card/board games, surely there must be someone out there who’d partner with TGC?

Meanwhile, please buy these. I have fun making card and board games and want to make more!

PURCHASE BOARD/CARD GAMES

 

Gamers. We’re Voltron, not Mazinger Z.

Brace yourself, I’m about to belabour a point with some extreme reductio absurdum.

“Oh! Bit of a fan of films I see. Is that Bergman’s The Seventh Seal?”

“Why yes it is. I’m a big fan of arthouse cinema.”

“You’ll love Extreme Schoolgirls 14”

“What? Is that porn?”

“Sure is.”

“Why on Earth would you think I would like that?”

“Both films aren’t they?”

THIS NEVER HAPPENS

“Quite a collection of books you have here.”

“I like the one about the… duck!”

“What about the chewable ABC?”

“Yes! A is for… apple!”

“You’ll LOVE War & Peace!”

THIS NEVER HAPPENS

“I know you love art from those Constable prints you have on your walls… so I got you a present.”

“Oh, you shouldn’t have.”

“Here, open it!”

“SWEET MERCIFUL CHRIST! Are those testicles? In cuffs?”

“It’s a Mapplethorpe!”

“MY EYES! THE GOGGLES, THEY DO NOTHING!”

THIS NEVER HAPPENS

Cinema, writing, art, none of these are a homogenous whole. Just because a person likes one thing within a medium does not mean, by any stretch of the imagination, that they like everything in that medium. Someone who reads The Guardian is unlikely to enjoy reading The Daily Mail.

Equally the antics and content of one product in a medium almost never reflect upon other products in that medium. The awful shite that is the Twilight series does nothing to diminish Tolkien’s work and if someone likes Twilight that’s up to them and hey, it’s just not my taste.

There’s this peculiar idea in gaming circles, both tabletop and computer games, that any game that doesn’t completely avoid contentious imagery, content or advertising is somehow letting the side down and reflects negatively on ‘The Hobby’ as a whole.

Neither roleplaying nor computer games are a monoculture. There’s some crossover of course but saying ‘Gamers’ is about as meaningful these days as saying ‘Humans’. There’s plenty of room for different games to appeal to different people and it’s perfectly OK for you not to like something without having to justify your dislike on some sort of political or social basis. ‘I don’t like this’ is enough.

In a roundabout way this brings me to my second, related point. If you try to please everyone you risk pleasing nobody. Appealing to the lowest common denominator, or the most easily offended denominator, means you end up with something bland and without integrity. Better to make something that people have a reason to feel passionate about – one way or the other – than to respond to with ‘Meh’.

So a game has naughty tentacles, bondage nuns being gunned down, large breasted ginger barbarians or rules that cover sexual assault. Not to worry, there’s plenty of other games that don’t. There’s something for everyone and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to play it and it says fuck all about the games you do like.

Sorted.