Apparently, the role playing community has a problem with women and minorities — at least that what a bunch of the designers have been squawking about recently. “We have to get more [insert token] into gaming!” Here’s my response:

NO WE DON’T.

We don’t need to categorize our players into sex, race, or wrestling weight class. If they aren’t jerks, you just have to treat them decently and let them play. “What if they’re gay?” So what? Unless they’re hitting on me, I don’t care. “Or transexuals?” Had one (Phrasing!) in a game back in 1990. He/she was a bit odd, but was a good player. Hell, I’ve had a stripper show up in BDSM garb. I don’t care. It did tweak one of the players, which is why I asked her not to do it again…but the rest of us were cool with it. One of the women held her leash for her.

We still got through the session without too much distraction, the player got the attention she was seeking, some of us enjoyed the show. But we didn’t say anything. ’cause we weren’t jerks. Conversely, you could make a good case the said stripper was, because she was looking for a rise (PHRASING!) out of us. (And most likely got it.)

Inclusion is trendy, right now. Wizards of the Coast has a few paragraphs extolling how gamers should let people explore different sexuality in their game. Sounds good…if you don’t have kids at the table. I didn’t think this much vaunted bit of verbiage was necessary (or appropriate) for a book that was going to be read by young kids and early teens. A few people lost their minds on a Facebook thread when I said this. the sorts of self-important turds that feel the need to show you how much more cultured, understanding, and tolerant they are — but really, they just love to be offended, and they love the attention their offense brings them.

I’ll admit it — I’ve never understood the side of gaming culture where a bunch of supposedly geeky man-boys think sexually harassing female players is acceptable. I’ve rarely seen it, and can only think of one instance since about 2000, and that was a few years ago when my ex-wife shut down a player who was making some pretty off-color remarks about a female character (but not the player…) But it still happens, which isn’t a character of the role playing community, as it is a confirmation that some sexist dicks like to play RPGs. Supposedly, it’s worse online — which I can believe; anonymity breeds obnoxiousness.

Outside of that aforementioned moment, I remember two instances that really stuck out — one was a Dungeons & Dragons game with a GM that was either Aspergers or Asshole…not sure which, but I suspect the latter. He handed out characters after reading from his 80 page historical treatise on his world (new GMs…don’t do this), and my ex-wife was given the cleric. Who was mute. Because women are best seen, not heard, is my guess; it seemed to match the way he treated his own wife. We didn’t go back. The other was a Shadowrun campaign where the players spent much of their time treating the female player’s character as a pet, really — they would “protect” her, harass her, talk over her, ignore her input while they caroused at a bar. Part of the problem was the GM, who was hands off to the point he disappear to go work on his garage queen Porsche 911, and the male players — all SCA types that croak about chivalry and protecting women, but really see them more as possessions (much like the knights of old) to be petted when convenient. One of these jerks would eventually drive his wife absolutely bughouse crazy. His brother was a long time friend (and the guy from the first anecdote) who, as he got older, the misogynistic side of his “chivalrous” personality crept out. Needless to say, we’re not friends anymore. Unlike many friends that have passed out of my life, I don’t miss him.

As for race — plenty of folks have sat at the same game table as me. Some dark skinned, some so white the reflection of sunlight caused retinal damage, giant tall to dwarf-like short, many fat (some dangerous to my furniture so0 and others not, glasses or no, handsome/pretty and…not so much. Social awkward. Some glib. Male and female, homosexual, bi, and heterosexual. Guys who couldn’t eat around other people due to anxiety, the wannabe actors and actresses (the worst!), the introvert that wouldn’t stop knitting while playing and the extroverts that wake my kid up with their brash pronunciations (I leave those ones to the wife to discipline…again, phrasing!)

It shouldn’t matter. If it does, that a reflection on you, not the hobby.

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