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D&D General Companies Cut Ties With Judges Guild After Owner's Racist Posts

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Several game publishers, including Bat in the Attic, have said that they will no longer do business with Judges Guild after its owner posted a number of racist and anti-semitic statements. They don't need to be repeated here; but there are several examples.

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Judges Guild has been around since 1976, producing products compatible with Dungeons & Dragons; the current owner, Bob Bledsaw II, is the son of its co-founder, Bob Bledsaw, and has run the company since 2008. The company is well known for 1976's City State of the Invincible Overlord, amongst other classics. Bat in the Attic and Frog God Games both license Judges' Guild properties.

Rob Conley of Bat in the Attic stated yesterday that the company would no longer do business with Judges Guild, or its properties. "Sunday evening, I called Robert Bledsaw II and discussed the issue. I notified him that I will no longer be doing future Judges’ Guild projects and will only continue to sell what I have currently listed. I stated that I will be calling the other Judges Guild licensee and inform them of the situation and of my decision."

Frog God Games, which has been working with Judges Guild for nearly 20 years, followed suit. "Recently the owner of Judges Guild made a series of racist and anti-semitic posts on Facebook. We will not reproduce them here; they are shown on Rob Conley's Bat in the Attic blog, and we are convinced of their authenticity. Rob wrote his post because, as a licensee of Judges Guild property, he felt he needed to state clearly that he would not be doing business with Judges Guild in the future. We have also licensed property from Judges Guild in the past, and we are seconding Rob's example by cutting off all future business with Judges Guild. The posts made on Facebook were completely unacceptable."

UPDATE — DriveThruRPG has severed ties. “The Judges Guild publisher account has been closed and they are no longer available on DriveThruRPG.”

A few years ago, Judges Guild ran a Kickstarter to bring back City State of the Invincible Overlord, with nearly a thousand backers raising $85K. The Kickstarter has not yet been fulfilled. The latest update was in October 2019.
 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


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Sunsword

Adventurer
No-politics warnings have been given several times.
One thing I never understand about things like this. I intellectually understand that there are people who hold strong racist (or other equally objectionable) views; that's clear and apparent. What I don't get is why they post them publicly; surely they know what will happen? Or do they literally just not care about the consequences?

It seems many bigots feel empowered these days.
 
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
MOD NOTE:

People seem to have difficulty restraining themselves from talking politics. This thread has had several warnings on the matter.

Please, from this point, do not act surprised or affronted if you get warning points, or are removed from the thread. You've been told.
 

Nobody has attempted but someone suggested it should be done.

Sorry for getting political. Comment edited.

I saw you edited as I was quoting, but I needed to keep this part of your quote in:

even though I assume those views never infected his product.

Even if there is no sign of these views in any products either of them may have written/edited, I wonder more where the profits made by them may have gotten directed. What hate groups may they have supported with the money they made from innocent gamers? So not buying from them, to me, is also about trying to dry up the resources these groups get. Take away the resources and organizations dry up and fall apart.
 

GameDaddy

Explorer
FYI someone who claims to have known Bob Sr claims that he would not have approved of his kids bigotry.

Yes that would be me, and Bob Sr. would not have approved... at all. He would have likely taken the boys out back to the woodshed in a back for an old fashioned switching. Before playing RPGs, Bob Sr. was of course, a historian, and avid wargamer, and he loved history. He went with his long time business partner from JG, Bill Owen to Europe in 2001, and they hosted a D-Day tour for a bunch of other wargamers where they travel through multiple countries checking out the old WWII and Napoleonic War battlefields and of course they paid their respects to the American soldiers who fought real Nazis and who died freeing France and Europe from evil, injustice and other horrors of the national socialist regime inflicted on the Free West.

This would have broken his heart.

We gamed together just once, at Pentacon in Fort Wayne, in 2003, but I had known him for years, corresponded with him regularly, and attended his funeral back in 2008. He was really good friends with Lou Zocchi, and of course he had gamed often with Rob, and Gary and Dave Arneson.

The only politics, race or religion, we ever discussed were the politics of the Judges Guild Wilderlands Campaign Setting, and he actually ran a campaign in his later years, and as a GM, would punish players who wanted to play evil characters or commit despicable deeds. I'll see if I can find my notes on this from his interviews. He also became more Christian in all the best ways one can be a Christian, with only charity, kindness, and goodwill in the late years of his life.
 
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HarbingerX

Rob Of The North
I have a fair collection of old Judge's Guild material and was considering getting the 5e Tegel Manor. Oh well, lots of other IP to support. I just hope it doesn't impact the people who have worked on the newer JG material too badly and they find projects to work on elsewhere.

Maybe at some point the IP gets sold to someone else. Then I'd be happy to support.
 

Gradine

Final Form
That's a new one for me as well. I was reading up on it, then got to this ...

"{T}he inversion thesis gives epistemic authority to those marginalized by systems of oppression insofar as these people are often better knowers than those who benefit from oppression. Put simply: social dispossession produces epistemic privilege."

I think I'm going to have to break out my Derrida. Or my ibuprofen. It seems to be largely about using very large terms for the concept that, for the most part, people (or members of groups) will view things differently based upon their differing experiences and/or positions within a society, which seems like a lot of words to say, "Go see Rashomon." (I kid!)

Sort of... there's basically two main premises to standpoint theory:
  1. Humans are incapable of true objectivity, especially when studying human behavior/society and especially if studying human behavior/society as an outsider
  2. Particularly on the topic of interpersonal and systemic oppression, members of the groups experiencing the oppression are the most likely to have the most complete knowledge on the subject, because they are incentivized to understanding what's happening to them
Basically, it's a counter to the (sadly very real) arguments that, for instance, only white people should be in charge of addressing/tackling issues related to racism because black and brown people wouldn't be objective enough to provide accurate information.

e: But yeah, academics rely on ridiculous jargon in order to gatekeep knowledge, for a lot of reasons really but mostly capitalism
e2: Just caught up... sorry for the minor derail, just wanted to provide additional context for the concept discussed earlier. It's not politics... it's social science!
 
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Gradine

Final Form
I think we were clear about the US politics discussion. Please don’t post in this thread again.


You know ... I can't even. That's just bizarre.

You actually still see this argument crop up a lot, particularly about whether certain judges should recuse themselves over specific issues related to race or gender or what have you. I mean, I live in California, so I got to hear all about the fact that it was a gay judge that struck down Prop 8.
 

Doug McCrae

Legend
I don't understand the references to "cancel culture" and "boycott" upthread. Afaik no one has called for a boycott. Those who are choosing not to do business with Bob Bledsaw II or not to buy his products are doing so entirely of their own volition, not from any pressure, social or otherwise, from others.
 

L

lowkey13

Guest
I think we’ve been really clear. It’s not a thread about US politics.
*Deleted by user*
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
We’re now handing out warnings and thread and for those discussing US politics in this thread.
 

Blacksad

Explorer
One thing I never understand about things like this. I intellectually understand that there are people who hold strong racist (or other equally objectionable) views; that's clear and apparent. What I don't get is why they post them publicly; surely they know what will happen? Or do they literally just not care about the consequences?

Memetic

From a society point of view, having people voicing objectionable point of view is what allows a society to select and make mainstream those that might be favorable to society.
So we get equal rights for males and females, which was objectionable not so long ago in western countries and is still objectionable in many societies.
And things that have been introduced in a society and led to bad things tend to become objectionable.
Like evolution at society scale.

The new, surprisingly controversial, term for that is memetic, though you find the concept of society evolving in Durkeim seminal work on sociology.

Now sad or interesting news, and important for you on moderation, things might be getting worse : Ant behavior might mirror political polarization - ScienceBlog.com
So you are probably right in avoiding political discussions here. It is probably the wise thing to do to ensure interactions between people covering the spectrum.
 

gyor

Legend
I don't condone what he said, but I think people people only deserve to he cancelled for acts of violence, like what Amber Heard did to Johnny Depp, not words, in sicking vile racist ones (although by all means, point out his ignorance).
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
A lot of people do take it as a reason to not attempt to make the world better.

And for some people, "making the world a better place" essentially "killing everyone who isn't me".

Maybe we'll just have to agree to disagree, because I know for a fact that I am a massive cynic, and not a lot is going to change that for me.
Well, to simply clarify, what I said wasn’t a line of reasoning, it was a statement of objective facts. Nearly every part of the world is safer than it has ever been. Maternal and childhood mortality is lower than its ever been even in the places where it is still too high. illiteracy is less common than its ever been. Access to medicine, economic opportunity, participation in governance, and education, are all more widely spread than they have ever been.

These aren’t “reasoning”, or “opinions”, or a “point of view”.

And no, I won’t accept for a moment the idea that these facts shouldn’t be celebrated because a few people who weren’t going to do anything anyway use progress as their excuse. They’d just use pessimism as their excuse if optimism didn’t seem viable. And in fact, I know far more people who fatalistically accept the (wholly nonsensically false) “fact” that they can’t do anything meaningful, or that “there is no future”, or whatever such garbage, as a reason not to bother, and what’s more to not even really give a damn, than I know people who are full of hope for the future and pride in how far weve come who then don’t bother working toward an even better future.

IME, hope inspires action. The ancient Greeks were full of crap.

I don't condone what he said, but I think people people only deserve to he cancelled for acts of violence, like what Amber Heard did to Johnny Depp, not words, in sicking vile racist ones (although by all means, point out his ignorance).

what do you think “cancelled” means?
Because it’s not relevant to this thread, in any meaningful way.

a tip: what it actually means is, “hey everyone, this person is [a bigot, abusive, sexually predatory, a hypocritical sellout who pretends to care about the cause but uses it to their own gain only, etc]. Be warned.”

That’s it.

But even if we take it to mean the hyperbolic nonsense some ascribe to it, ie, “destroy their lives”, you don’t think that people should...what, even?Do you think it is unjust to stop buying from or working with someone who spews absolutely vile racism and racist conspiracy theories? Seriously?
 

Henry

Autoexreginated
One thing I never understand about things like this. I intellectually understand that there are people who hold strong racist (or other equally objectionable) views; that's clear and apparent. What I don't get is why they post them publicly; surely they know what will happen? Or do they literally just not care about the consequences?
It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it. - Maurice Switzer
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
I respectfully disagree, @gyor . I think it is quite appropriate for businesses to cut ties with such people in this situation.

I would go even further and say that knowing continuing to do business with hate groups or avid racists sends the message that you at least tacitly approve of said ideals.

Hate bigoted speech has very real damaging affects on others. Screw them, and screw anyone who defends them, IMO
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it. - Maurice Switzer
Havamal has some similar advice. Truly advice that stands the test of time.

Still, it also advises that listening quietly while others speak is the wise man’s path.
I say, let bad people speak freely, wave a flag declaring who they are. Makes it easier to curate one’s associations more wisely.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I don't condone what he said, but I think people people only deserve to he cancelled for acts of violence, like what Amber Heard did to Johnny Depp, not words, in sicking vile racist ones (although by all means, point out his ignorance).
"Cancelled" isn't really a thing. It's an alt-right buzzword to describe natural social consequences of behaviour. What's actually happening is some people are choosing not to do business with somebody who has espoused values that do not align with their own. Do you think I as a customer shouldn't be allowed to not buy from somebody whose values are antithetical to my own? And if so, why should I be forced to buy from that person?
 

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