D&D Celebrity Satine Phoenix & Husband Jamison Stone Accused Of Abuse Towards Freelancers

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D&D influencer Satine Phoenix, and her husband Jamison Stone, who run tabletop gaming company Apotheosis Studios, have been accused of abusive behavior towards freelancers and contracted workers.

Satine Phoenix is a well-known D&D personality and creator, and was the D&D Community Manager for about a year back in 2018. Both she and Stone have appeared in many events and streaming shows, and have worked with WotC, Geek & Sundry, and other companies. Recently their Kickstarter campaign Sirens: Battle of the Bards raised over $300,000. At GaryCon, a US gaming convention, the couple held a public wedding.

sirens.jpg

Accusations were initially leveled last week against Stone by tattooist Chad Rowe, who tweeted about the abusive way in which Stone, as his client at the time, treated him. The artist was "insulted, berated, and talked down to as if I was a lesser person". Other reports started to roll in as people shared similar experiences, with people revealing how they had been bullied by them, and how the pair frequently portrayed themselves as 'better' than those they worked with. At the time of writing there have been many such reports including one from voice actress and designer Liisa Lee who was subjected to underhanded business practices by Phoenix and her then partner Ruty Rutenberg. Others indicated difficulties in getting paid for work done for Stone and Phoenix or their company.

Lysa Penrose reported on problematic interactions while Phoenix worked at WotC, who was the primary point of contact regarding a report of abuse. Penrose reports that Phoenix failed to pass on the reports of abuse, and continued to publicly associate with the abuser.

Jamison Stone has since resigned as CEO of Apotheosis Studios (though the pair do own the company) and issued a long apology which has been widely criticized. Phoenix released a statement about a week later. Screenshots leaked from a private channel indicate that they have adopted a strategy of shifting the blame onto Stone, so that Phoenix's public image remain intact, with Stone writing “I also am ensuring behind the scenes ... we shield Satine as much as physically possible from damage.”

D&D In A Castle, which is an event which hosts D&D games run by professional DMs in a weekend break in a castle, has dropped the pair from its lineup, as has Jasper's Game Day, an organization which works to prevent suicides. Origins Game Fair, at which the couple are celebrity guests, removed Stone from its guest list, but not Phoenix, stating that "staff assessed that there was no immediate risk of physical harm".

According to ComicBook.com. former collaborator of Phoenix, Ruty Rutenberg, is suing Phoenix, alleging misappropriation of $40,000 of stream network Maze Arcana's money.
 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Who said anything about Z being a “psycho abuser”? You keep painting this in weird extremes: either the assumptions you are making about Z being a truly good dude unwittingly led astray are true, or he’s an evil abuser who is being tarred simply by “associating” with Satine.

Perhaps it would be better to focus on Z’s behavior rather than on making assumptions about what a good guy he “seems” to be?
I assume that he is muddling along somewhere in the middle, like the vast majority of humanity. You seem to be the one painting in extremes here.
 

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BRayne

Adventurer
My ex-wife isn't in the TTRPG spotlight. My comment was in regards to people being surprised that women can be abusive.
I'm not suggesting abuse is more common among game designers or celebrities. What I am saying is that sometimes women can be at fault too.
Any abuser - regardless of their status or the shape the abuse takes - should be made responsible for their actions.

That section was in response to someone else's point as far as I can tell
 

Retreater

Legend
That section was in response to someone else's point as far as I can tell
It was confusing because I think there were three of us quoted, with the poster replying the same to all of us. Maybe it was some kind of error?
In any case, I'm not offended. Just wanted to clear up any miscommunication.
[Edit: was a glitch on my part. Deleted my previous response. Hope this clears up any confusion. Thank you for clarifying.]
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
My ex-wife isn't in the TTRPG spotlight. My comment was in regards to people being surprised that women can be abusive.
I'm not suggesting abuse is more common among game designers or celebrities. What I am saying is that sometimes women can be at fault too.
Any abuser - regardless of their status or the shape the abuse takes - should be made responsible for their actions.
I humbly request you look at my post again. What you are quoting here was in reply to an entirely separate person from you, speaking on their implication that the TTRPG spotlight attracts unpleasant people, nor did I say anything that can reasonably be taken as a suggestion of anything in contradiction with what you are saying here.
In fairness, there's a number of people in the 'D&D Famous' space who feel kind of try-hard to me: I've never payed it much mind; I just assumed they were excited about what they were doing and trying extra hard not to jinx it, which I completely understand. I haven't followed Satine terribly closely - I mainly remember her for appearing on Wil Wheaton's Tabletop and playing a setite in LA by Night - but I hadn't noticed any indication of negative behavior, while the others you mentioned felt like they might be jerks off the bat.
Exactly. that's what I'm saying. Satine never stood out beyond being exceptionally attractive and being maybe a bit more try-hard than some of the people around her. Mearls, Ruty, Jamison, all made me suspicious off the bat. Zak S I honestly had no perception of at all until I found out he was an abuser, he just...didn't stand out to me in any way, even though I was aware of DnD with Pornstars way before Satine became a celeb DM. But Satine just reminded me of nerds I've known all my life. "Hot nerd who is maybe working harder than they need to in order to feel like they fit in and belong and establish their place here" hardly stands out, to me.
 

Retreater

Legend
I humbly request you look at my post again. What you are quoting here was in reply to an entirely separate person from you, speaking on their implication that the TTRPG spotlight attracts unpleasant people, nor did I say anything that can reasonably be taken as a suggestion of anything in contradiction with what you are saying here.
So sorry. There must've been a glitch on my phone. I saw only your comment on the last quote (from another user). I assumed it applied to my quote because it didn't display the rest of your post.
I'm so sorry. I will go back and delete the posts I made in reference to your post to remove any further confusion in this thread.
 

I've seen this so many times, and been this. In my previous career, I was good at my job and ended up in management. I was ill-suited for it and miserable. In my current career I've avoided that path and am quite content and happy.

It's also known as the Peter Principle for creatives who work in a corporate environment. A person who is a great writer or artists may not have great people skills. Yet to keep getting raises to stay ahead of inflation or get promoted, they have to transition out of the "grunt" work and into management positions - which are not their skill set or the or their focus.

Yeah, that attention and adulation, even on the smallest scale, can be a heady thing. It's all too easy to go from being thankful for the support to thinking that it is what you are owed.

I ran some library mini-comic-con DnD, using an adventure I wrote to take 1 hour to run, just for that event, alongside two other DMs also running my adventure (three times with new players each time), and I can't even tell ya how intoxicating it was to be the king of that moment, for it all to go perfectly, (1-hour adventure with a satisfying arc! I still dunno how I managed it!), and when someone helped my wife get me an energy drink and some nachos between games, i felt like a rock star, just for a moment.

It's pretty easy to see how people can get caught up. My focus, as always, was on serving others and seeing other people have a good time and be happier leaving the room than entering it, but I can't say I wouldn't lose that eventually if i were truly famous, not just in the world's smallest spotlight for a day.
 


ChaosOS

Legend
She’s done. He’s done. Ruty might see work again. Maybe. But I dint think he’s interested in this industry anymore.

What I am curious about now is who is credited in the Eberron books? Stilly Ruty? Should it be?
The stuff Liisa wrote without credit or pay was for the Maze Arcana patreon; Keith did the bulk of the lore writing for Wayfinders, while Ruty was responsible for the first draft of the mechanics.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
So sorry. There must've been a glitch on my phone. I saw only your comment on the last quote (from another user). I assumed it applied to my quote because it didn't display the rest of your post.
I'm so sorry. I will go back and delete the posts I made in reference to your post to remove any further confusion in this thread.
I'm not sure it was a glitch on your phone. When I first saw the post you responded to, it was mainly a few separate quoted sections with a comment by doctorbadwolf only at the very bottom. And I'm viewing this via Safari on an iMac.
So if there was a glitch, it was more widespread than your phone.
 


You were suspicious of Mearls off the bat? The others gave me a bad vibe, but Mearls felt like he almost came from Central Casting as "generic D&D nerd".
Since we're also taking this opportunity to call out people with whom we've had good experiences: Since I first hired him as a freelancer at FFG back in ~2002, I found Mike to be one of the most talented, hardest-working, dedicated, professional, authentic, and kind people I encountered during my decade in the industry.
 

mythago

Adventurer
I assume that he is muddling along somewhere in the middle, like the vast majority of humanity. You seem to be the one painting in extremes here.

I truly don't understand what you mean by "painting in extremes" - it's "extreme" to do anything other than create exculpatory stories for strangers who 'seem' nice?
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I truly don't understand what you mean by "painting in extremes" - it's "extreme" to do anything other than create exculpatory stories for strangers who 'seem' nice?
Yes, actually. Charitable interpretations of the actions of others is a moral imperative, until evidence comes to light. Even when one does not like them (particularly if one doesn't like them, really).

Now some actions, like writing Nazi literature or sexually propositioning business partners after taking them out alone in the woods, the most charitable reading is still really, really bad. What Liisa describes of her relationship with Z and Z's actions are disappointing, but not themselves abusive in se.
 
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Von Ether

Legend
In fairness, there's a number of people in the 'D&D Famous' space who feel kind of try-hard to me: I've never payed it much mind; I just assumed they were excited about what they were doing and trying extra hard not to jinx it, which I completely understand. I haven't followed Satine terribly closely - I mainly remember her for appearing on Wil Wheaton's Tabletop and playing a setite in LA by Night - but I hadn't noticed any indication of negative behavior, while the others you mentioned felt like they might be jerks off the bat.

I know a lot of game makers who are awkward or shy at heart so just going to a convention and pretending to be an extrovert is performance for them and they put out that try-hard energy. I imagine by extension some D&D Famous people are the same way.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I know a lot of game makers who are awkward or shy at heart so just going to a convention and pretending to be an extrovert is performance for them and they put out that try-hard energy. I imagine by extension some D&D Famous people are the same way.
I’m not famous or anything, but that’s my experience. If I go to a convention I have to be “on” for several days while I man a booth, and that’s just not me. I imagine for somebody with fans that’s a thousand times harder work.
 

mythago

Adventurer
Yes, actually. Charitable interpretations of the actions of others is a moral imperative, until evidence comes to light. Even when one does not like them (particularly if one doesn't like them, really).

Their actions are not "evidence", then. Thanks for clarifying that the priority here is protecting missing stairs.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
I’m not famous or anything, but that’s my experience. If I go to a convention I have to be “on” for several days while I man a booth, and that’s just not me. I imagine for somebody with fans that’s a thousand times harder work.
Yep, same here. Just running a booth for 3 days straight and talking to hundreds of people non-stop while being friendly and extroverted is exhausting, not just physically.
 

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