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TSR Ernie Gygax on New TSR, WotC Beefs, Trademarks, Licensees, 5E, & More

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A YouTube channel, 'Live From the Bunker', interviewed Ernie Gygax about the new TSR. I've watched and decided to try to transcribe the most relevant parts of it, but the full hour-long video is below if you want to see the whole interview and full context.



Ernie Gygax is one of D&D co-creator Gary Gygax's sons, and recently announced that TSR, the company that launched D&D in 1974, and bought by WotC in the late 1990s, was returning.

All the below is Ernie Gygax's words as best I could transcribe. I'm posting the facts of what was said here, without commentary.

There's also talk about early TSR stories, Gail Gygax lawsuits and wills, etc. but I've tried to stay on topic. You can watch the full interview for more.

Why A New TSR?

TSR has been gone. There's a ton of artists and game designers and people that play..... and recently they were dissed for being old-fashioned, possibly anti modern trends, and enforcing, or even having the concepts of gender identity (laughs).

All I'm trying to do is fill in the stripmine, allow this old fertile soil to produce more games and products again. We're not gonna be able to get back the diamond that was Dungeons & Dragons. We'll be able to make things that might have chips of diamond material... we're never gonna see that great D&D diamond again, I don't think.

Why Two TSRs?

The other TSR is a licensee because [Jayson Elliot] let it lapse. But he had absolutely ... love for the game and the products. There was no reason to say 'oh you've screwed up, oh it's all ours, ha ha ha ha!' Instead, Justin [LaNasa] came to him and said ... we love that you're doing Top Secret things, we have a much broader goal for the whole thing. But there's no reason for you to stop or even have any troubles. Justin said, I'll take care of the paperwork, you just give me $10 a year, and you put out all this love for old school gaming that you can. And we appreciate that you were there to try and pick up things, and you produced Gygax Magazine, for in its time that you're also working on a game that you love to play ... because Top Secret was Jayson's love, as a young man.


On Gail Gygax, Wills, & Courts

We are in court right now with Gail Gygax, my father's last wife, who he impressed upon me, this is my wife, this was his last years, if you're going to deal with me, you're going to be dealing with my wife here. So 'OK father, understood'. And he said 'it doesn't matter what you think, because this is my wife'. That is important!

But he then did a will. The will was not put forth because the assumption was that there was not $50,000 in 19... or 2008, I should say, dollars worth of value in his estate. And right now though without that Gail had complete control of all the IPs and product, and she had pulled them all from the market hoping to sell them as one gigantic package to a large conglomerate, be it Pepsi or a studio or whatever.

Which did not happen, and at least in my opinion - and exactly that, an opinion - has lowered the knowledge and recognition of my father's name and his works. I think the best way to show and create value for anything is to have it in front of the public. And so in September there's going to be a couple of days where I get up really early - and it's not my style, like I said I was up until 6 in the morning - so by 8am I'm supposed to be bright and chipper and being questioned by lawyers as well as other family members.

Top Secret

[Top Secret] hasn't done real well, OK? But hopefully there will be a little bit of extra energy involved with Jayson and his material too, because we will be openly talking about them, and saying there's this fine gentleman, this ally. And there'll be other allies.

How Involved Are You?

With the two other gentleman as well as many volunteers and hopefully an ever expanding membership. This is kind of ... think of like an old British club where you know 'oooh, we sit around with our cigars'. This is gonna be hobby [champions?]

TSR Trademark

The TSR logo trademark was found in the dirt, by mistake, as we were setting up the museum. We were just looking for 'dungeon hobby shop', all that sort of thing, and Justin found, aching in the corridor, with the carcass of an old [counter?] this treasure. And instead of saying, like a thief and pocketing this, he said to Jeff and I, we have found this treasure. Let's make something of it!

Giantlands

Giantlands is a first licensee of a product that we are working with. I was involved with Giantlands just before Hobby Shop Museum became a reality. Jim Ward, he said, Luke and Ernie I would like either of you or both to be part of this project. So I said, well Jim Ward's got project, it looks like it was Gamma World, Metamorphosis Alpha, which I loved, and then I started reading more and said 'oh there's this other gentleman, Stephen Dinehart, and look at this, Aztecs flying around on hovercraft and beam weapons, alright, this is starting to look good.

I said I really don't want to get involved deeply with actually writing, having my name on the top, I would love to be involved in basically criticizing, modifying, and polishing the work for somebody else as well as trying to see what we can do to get this to not be just a concept...

How many original TSR people are part of this new TSR?

Well, it's an ever expanding list as we go along. A lot of it are let's say it's involved in projects, so it's not like you're hired on a wage situation, it would be more like royalties, or potentially a job or an occupation. Sometime, though I doubt it will happen because my friend [couldn't make out words] I would love to have him as something to do with our shipping department. He was the longest lasting TSR employee ever, and he was a good buddy, he bought me beer when I was underage.

We have Larry Elmore, particularly interested in Star Frontiers... and he is ready to maybe actually be a [one?] project art director.


On Wizards of the Coast, Lorraine Williams, & Original TSR

They just took as all corporate raiders do the treasures and then tried to make them their own. American Indians did the same thing they would, um, wipe out another tribe many times take the women and children and murder off everything else and leave to make your tribe that much better, room to grow.

On Star Frontiers

It would not be the same game. It would be a complete remake, sadly, or at least enough, as they told my dad when they did 2nd Edition, that I'm sorry you don't deserve any royalties from this because we changed it more than 10%. We're just a small company, we're defiantly not going to go to bat against WotC, that would be a stupid move, we'd just lose.

This is to fill in, and take all those holes where they've thrown back and said 'we don't want that'. So, OK, we're picking up apple cores and panting seeds.


On Cooperating with WotC

I would hope so but they just put out a big disclaimer recently trying to divorce themselves from the ethics and style of play that was involved in the origins of the game. They're basically trying to say 'we're a better company and a better type of person' than those who started playing. At least that's somewhat of the impression they've given and 'please switch over and be part of the new wave'. You know. Join the pack of lemmings, oh yeah!

.... and the problem is my fighter returns antagonism for antagonism. So that's where we start getting into some difficulties and I'm having to throw a protection from evil up. [Can't make out words] here and there, end of the party, and hopefully someday I'll be able to throw a fireball [can't make out words].

The Future of TSR

Justin is extremely interested in dealing with a Swiss firm .... this would just be a licensee .... but it's very possible that I may be taking some of my dungeon features from the old hobby shop dungeon and putting them into a game where it's virtual reality.

On [Online Theories That This Is A Test For?] 6th Edition D&D and WotC

I wish that I had better contacts with Wizards, and some of them probably would like to talk to me at some point too, because almost anybody that plays the games have been and are fans of older material. Though every edition, everybody that got involved somehow was taking their ideas and tried to make them canon, and that's been very interesting, so I guess we all like to own our own property, and I still feel that the best game I ever played in was my father's, probably followed by Rob Kuntz, and then Dave Arneson.

More on Star Frontiers

Unless for some reason they will allow us play royalties and things. We would still like to be friends with WotC for old things. We want to pick up things that were tossed in the dirt, brush them off, but if needed we are not incapable of creation. We'll create and we'll allow people to have things that aren't the method they are prescribing for people, it is not happiness for everybody, though it is happiness for many millions.

The 2019 Giantlands Kickstarter

That was individual. Stephen [Dinehart] is a licensee and my friend, and I'm part of it, but it's not TSR as the company and the people that have the museum. Those are two separate entities, which Justin is the first licensee in that we actually expect to have glorious things occurring.

On Crowdfunding & Late Kickstarters

I had a problem because when I did a crowdfunding on something called the Marmoreal Tomb, we are now just starting to deliver five years late ... its an incredible work! But I brought in an artist, a man of great talent, and more ambition than possibly foresight at the time. He's still cracking the whip, we have received years of hate from some people [can't make out words] Marmoreal Tomb, but not the whole thing, we don't have all the stretch goals, I'm saying that I have a burned hand from Kickstarters. But they do work. The reason that they really work is not just the money that they bring in, because you don't get all of it, maybe 7-10% of gets stolen by banks and other people, because that's why they do this crowdfunding thing, they say 'oh great, yeah, we'll handle your money' but it's gone.

But the idea is that we are going to be doing a membership drive, and a membership will be for playing at the museum, for buying products, and also conventions, probably having conventions where we have no fee, or a very reduced fee, if you're a member. And memberships will be lifetime memberships. A copper membership for like $50, there's a mitral or something for a grand. I don't know. That's something I don't have to worry about.

... [can't make out words] about $64,000 out of 125 or whatever they started with. I think I got 113 or something after Kickstarter peeled off their top. I've been paying for artists, I've wasted money on some accountants, I've got a gamer accountant now to help, and governments, and some people say 'oh you've got to pay tax on this, and oh no we didn't have to, the federal returned some money, the state said you give me money [laughs].

On D&D 5th Edition

The idea is let's share. The idea is there isn't a bad roleplaying game. 5th Edition to me is kinda like drinking light beer, when you could be having a Guinness. It's still cold ... has calories, some.

And more!

The above is selected quotes -- probably about half of the interview, but I tried to focus on new information. I've transcribed those as best I can, but there are a couple of bits where I couldn't make the words out. There's lots more (chat on gaming generally, old TSR stories, etc)! Watch the video for the full thing.
 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

imagineGod

Legend
I don't think it's hard to find versions of the original games (be those PDFs, or OGL variants, or second-hand copies). We don't need the Dodgy Brothers to "resurrect" TSR in order to play something other than 5e D&D.


I have no history with the original D&D. I started playing Moldvay Basic in 1982.

But no one is disputing the accuracy of the transcript. And criticism of what is said in that transcript seems pretty reasonable. The stated reason for "resurrecting" TSR is one of resentment towards contemporary RPGing, especially WotC, and not liking that WotC has issued a disclaimer disowning the racialised and sometimes racist content of earlier material.

That's a pretty sorry basis on which to build a RPG company.

I think it's possible to have a FRPG that builds on Tolkien's idea of using different peoples to reflect on the different ways in which humans can fall. And that tries to engage with the social history of mediaeval Europe. But I think there is zero chance that this new TSR will give us such a game.
The disclaimer that WoTC issued is typical Capitalist doublespeak. Profiting from content that is problematic today but unable to break cleanly free of the D&D brand that Gary Gygax helped create.

Having TSR resurrected is a great mirror to the world to show that WoTC built its house upon those it now feels ashamed to call founders of the world's most popular role playing game.

Like it or not, Ernie Gygax with Luke and Elise are part of D&D. Tenser's transformation is a classic.

Like I said, though I never experienced the original, my friends and I enjoy playing those elf and dwarf classes to step away from the prevalence of weekly 5e.

My only concern is that Ernie Gygax did rot run his Kickstarter well. And I long ago gave up supporting badly run projects after John Wick lost control of his excellent 7th Sea 2e Kickstarter.
 

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Hussar

Legend
Well...I couldn’t care less one way or the other about this new TSR yet. If they bring out the greatest rpg ever made then that’ll be just dandy but the nostalgia factor is zero without providing quality content to back it up...so we’ll see. Good luck to them. They’ve not made a strong start though.

As to the controversy sparked by his comments...not everybody is into what WOTC is doing to try and homogenise D&D and prefer more distinct differences within the game, like the original rules presented. For example...players trying to present a pseudo medieval game (as D&D pretty much was) might like to keep modern transgender options out of the equation. They might also like their Goblins to be evil, horrible creatures...not cuddly, funny little scamps. This doesn’t automatically make them racist or promoting transphobia, in my opinion.

Please don’t get aggressive or defensive with me for writing this. I’m not hating on anybody.

Live and let live.
The problem with this point of view is it is based in a very specific interpretation that isn't all that well supported by history. For example, no one is trying to make goblins be "funny little scamps". That's a very uncharitable thing to say and is flat out untrue. Which makes anyone, like me, who chooses to engage with you, automatically defensive because there is always the impulse to correct a mistake. A "pseudo medieval game" has no real historical reasons for keeping transgender options out of the game. For one, you have actual shapechangers in the mix, either from the race they are or from the class.

What are the implications on sexuality for druids? Or dopplegangers? Or, frankly, anything that can cast "alter self"? Now, let's be honest here, I think the vast majority of tables ignore these implications, which is fair enough. But, again, the real history of many places is FAR stranger than most fantasy games. If you want a "pseudo medieval" game based on real history, then you don't really get to pick and choose which "real history" you use do you? Various non-cis gendered relationships were perfectly acceptable and normal in various places at various times. So, the notion that anyone who is not cis-gendered would automatically be discriminated against isn't really in keeping with history.

So, yes, I would say that those who are "trying to present a pseudo medieval game" that ignores history is definitely promoting racism and transphobia.
 

GreyLord

Hero
I don't think it's hard to find versions of the original games (be those PDFs, or OGL variants, or second-hand copies). We don't need the Dodgy Brothers to "resurrect" TSR in order to play something other than 5e D&D.


I have no history with the original D&D. I started playing Moldvay Basic in 1982.

But no one is disputing the accuracy of the transcript. And criticism of what is said in that transcript seems pretty reasonable. The stated reason for "resurrecting" TSR is one of resentment towards contemporary RPGing, especially WotC, and not liking that WotC has issued a disclaimer disowning the racialised and sometimes racist content of earlier material.

That's a pretty sorry basis on which to build a RPG company.

I think it's possible to have a FRPG that builds on Tolkien's idea of using different peoples to reflect on the different ways in which humans can fall. And that tries to engage with the social history of mediaeval Europe. But I think there is zero chance that this new TSR will give us such a game.

There have been comments that have attacked his knowledge of what D&D was originally and how it was designed. Those comments are those that I am disagreeing with.

In regards to your statement

The stated reason for "resurrecting" TSR is one of resentment towards contemporary RPGing, especially WotC, and not liking that WotC has issued a disclaimer disowning the racialised and sometimes racist content of earlier material.

It is HOW some are interpreting his statements in this thread. It is NOT clear to me that how they interpreted it is what he actually meant. I would actually say that this was NOT the reason he is part of the TSR (new) that they've created and it perhaps has MORE to do with the value of his father's work and his valuation of it vs. the devaluation he sees occuring to it from Gail Gygax's handling of the property.

However, the statement that people think he is referring to is as follows...

We (Wizards) recognize that some of the legacy content available on this website does not reflect the values of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise today. Some older content may reflect ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice that were commonplace in American society at that time. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. This content is presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. Dungeons & Dragons teaches that diversity is a strength, and we strive to make our D&D products as welcoming and inclusive as possible. This part of our work will never end.

It seems that he may have an issue with all or part of that statement, but he does not specify which portion of it he is referring to. For example, I may have issues with the idea that such prejudices were commonplace in all of American society, especially when one considers American Society as all of North and South America and NOT JUST the United States. For example, Brazil has always been rather open and accepting from what I've seen (not a native Brazilian so this is just my perception) and they are just as American as anyone else.

I'm not absolutely certain what he meant by the statement, and thus have not jumped to a conclusion yet (though I may in the future).

I would say that many in the thread have made up their mind what he meant...but some of their comments (for example, yours that says that he solely made the company in response to the note on DMsGuild that I quoted above) seem to actually ignore many of the other items he said or stated.
 

Hussar

Legend
If you're doing a game set in medieval times that's authentic to that time frame it would be very difficult to impossible to exist openly. A powerful noble might be able to pull it off.

D&D isn't realistic but think even 50 years ago. Did they exist yes hell one of the Roman emperors was trans (probably). They didn't get a sympathetic write up by the historians of the time. Their reign didn't have a happy ending.
Medieval times, but where? Do you mean Medieval France or Greece? Or Angkor? Or Egypt? Or Meso-American (sp)? When we're delving into history, and claiming that "historical accuracy" is a priority, we don't get to pick and choose which history.
 


Yaarel

Mind Mage
The original post
YouTube channel 'Live From the Bunker' interviewed Ernie Gygax about the new TSR. I've decided to try to transcribe the most relevant parts of it. ...


Why A New TSR?

TSR has been gone. There's a ton of artists and game designers and people that play..... and recently they were dissed for being old-fashioned, possibly anti modern trends, and enforcing, or even having the concepts of gender identity (laughs).

All I'm trying to do is fill in the stripmine, allow this old fertile soil to produce more games and products again.

...

On Cooperating with WotC

I would hope so but they just put out a big disclaimer recently trying to divorce themselves from the ethics and style of play that was involved in the origins of the game. They're basically trying to say 'we're a better company and a better type of person' than those who started playing. At least that's somewhat of the impression they've given and 'please switch over and be part of the new wave'. You know. Join the pack of lemmings, oh yeah!

... and the problem is my fighter returns antagonism for antagonism. So that's where we start getting into some difficulties and I'm having to throw a protection from evil up.

fireball

The interview with Ernie Gygax bewilders and saddens me. He says little regarding the topic of hatespeech, but what he says is inescapably concerning.

Earnie appears hostile to even small attempts by WotC to remove unintentional racism from the D&D game. Moreover, he doubles down on misogynist elements that had been removed from AD&D decades ago, apparently dedicating his new business venture to "enforce" "gender". He comes across as transphobic.

All of this is unfortunate.

I have always perceived the founders of D&D, Gygax and Arneson, as decent people. I took comfort in this, when dealing with serious discussions about hatespeech against African and Asian ethnicities, and agianst genders and orientations.

In early AD&D content, there are problematic elements, here and there, that are undeniable when point out. But they all seem accidental to me. Sometimes it is a misguided sense of "fun" for a random encounter. Sometimes it is an uncritical transmission of certain authors of speculative fiction. Likewise, when some of this material found its way into more recent editions of D&D, it also struck me as unfortunate oversights.

But I never once considered that the founders might be complicit in this subtle hatespeech. The reactionary words of Gygaxs son, Ernie, make me less certain about the innocence of Gary.

I still give Gary Gygax the benefit of the doubt, yet the words of Ernie are repulsive, in the sense of pushing me away from TSR and early D&D.



I enjoy speculating about 5e, about the two mysterious "classic settings" that will be coming in the next two years. I even suspected that Greyhawk might be one of them. Even if it is, now I am less confident that it is a good idea.



The interview with Ernie Gygax bewilders and saddens me.
 

Shroompunk Warlord

Archdruid of the Warp Zones
Do I need to be canceled as well? I am pro LGBT+ but.... I like racial ability score modifiers, evil goblins (who have nothing to do with any real "race" or culture IMHO), and think the whole "race retcon" thing is absurd. Must be showing my age.

I'm basically where you are. (I don't like racial ASIs for game reasons.) Funny how it feels like we're on opposite sides of the argument when we don't really disagree on the root causes. Personally, I do hope Gygax and "third" TSR are cancelled-- because they're going to need the groundswell of public support and spite sales to get "fourth" TSR off the ground after Hasbro's legal team reduces them to smoking rubble.

Cancelling someone might make their fanbase paler, hairier, and uglier, but I've never seen any evidence it has ever made someone's fanbase smaller. It's also funny how the people most afraid of it are the people who'd mostly benefit from it.
 

JediSoth

Semi-Professional Author
Another day, another fire. I'm reminded his last update to the Marmoreal Tomb Kickstarter (back in March 2019) before Troll Lords took it over to save it:

NO AMOUNT OF OUTSIDE ENERGY WILL SPEED THIS UP
As of this time the whole project status is waiting for Benoist to complete the writing of the creations we generated together. Then he will pass them on to me and days later we will on video chat finish cleaning the material up. He has no desire to hear or see any comments on the KS page since it fires him up to defend the LATE status instead of working on it at all. He is a finicky artist and will not release parts of anything until it is completed.

He does not have access to the funds and they sit at about 78K now (lots of art and other original business expenses, as well as an expensive worthless accountant to start with). As soon as the project fulfills I will be closing down the LLC and Ben somehow wishes to keep a company somehow, I do not.

I playtested the Marmoreal Tomb on three of the four games I ran at Gary Con XI and I will be running some more games at NTRPG con in June. I don't have the finished level 2 or the level 3 Caves of Chaos although some of the monsters and ideas I generated for them are lots of fun and Mark Allen has a fantastic bit of art on my favorite creature of Chaos.

I don't respond to these statements for the same reason I don't get into blogs and all that. If you want to talk to me about something send me a facebook message: Ernest Gary Gygax Jr
------------------------

Mind you, this was a Kickstarter that was sold as "complete, except for the art" and it turns out most of it wasn't written at all.

Considering the amount of money my wife and I have donated to help bail his out of the fire (almost literally considering he lost his apartment and most of his possessions in a fire several years ago), this is very disappointing.

It never ceases to amaze me how many people will double-down on the defense of racism and sexism in RPGs on the basis of "historical accuracy" while at the same time having physics-altering magic, talking mushroom folk, and giant, fire-breathing flying lizards.
 

Dragonsbane

Proud Grognard
It never ceases to amaze me how many people will double-down on the defense of racism and sexism in RPGs on the basis of "historical accuracy" while at the same time having physics-altering magic, talking mushroom folk, and giant, fire-breathing flying lizards.
Although I am not for racism or sexism in an fashion, you might be surprised on how many people NEVER have this drama or debate at their table. I have played since the 80s, and never has OOC sexism or racism been an issue.

My my my the sensitive might not like my games. OOC, sexism and racism and anti-LGBT+ is not allowed at my table (along with politics). IC, however, there is TONS of in-character racism when the humans enter the dwarven mine. TONS of racism when the group tries to negotiate with lizardmen. TONS of in-character sexism when the female barbarian steps up into the gladiatorial arena.

And can you believe it... no one at my table has ever been offended! (I asked)
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Also, gender-queernes might have been "known" among Vikings, but it was certainly frowned upon. "Seiðr" and "Spa" (forms of magic) were the domains of women, and men who practiced it were ridiculed, called effeminate, and possibly outcast.
Yes, Loki is genderqueer, and yes, Oðinn practiced magic, but as "gods" they were outside of the norms.
This is neither an endorsement, nor a condemnation of the Vikings' view on such things, but afaik that's historians' current take.
Many English speakers rely on two books in Old Norse, the Eddas. But there are over a hundred sagas as well. The sagas describe better the daily life.

It is clear from the evidence that individuals can and did choose their own gender. Norse has a gender-divided culture, but individuals were accepted who chose the "other" gender. And many seem to negotiate the boundary between them. For example, the shaman is a feminine religious tradition, but there appear to be many men who became "seid" men. Likewise, women skald and warriors are known and respected. Consider the "berserkar", from "bera-serkr" meaning the "womans dress" of a "female bear". It is a humorous nickname for a shamanic tradition that uses feminine magic for masculine warfare.

With regard to the brief and famous Edda text on seid magic, men who do seid are accused of being "unmanly". Yet note, Odinn, Thor, Frey, Alfar, Dvergar, and many other men are all said to do seid. Every sacred masculine figure is assumed to do seid. Despite that seid is a sacred tradition, it is nevertheless conflictive with the masculine division of Norse culture in two ways.

First, every Norse adult male is expected to be an able-bodied warrior to defend the family. Family feuds appear ubiquitous. Each family had their own militia. A main responsibility of a Jarl is getting the heads of families to entrust the Jarl with their warriors. It happens, a woman can volunteer to be a warrior, but a man is expected to. From a young age, both girls and boys learn to fight, including wrestling. If a man is training to do seid typically with women mentors, he is spending less time training to be a warrior typically with men mentors. A males duty is to defend the family, in battle.

Second and relatedly, there is a masculine sense of honor deriving from being a courageous warrior. A man must be brave and face an adversary with style, and fight honorably. Seid is specifically mind magic, manipulating the emotions and perceptions of a targets mind. The Norse felt this kind of magic, to twist and trick the mind of a combat opponent, was "unfair" in a fight. It seemed less "courageous", and in this specific sense unmanly. In context, unmanly means less courageous in battle.

Nevertheless, when a man proves to be powerful in shamanic skills, Norse culture reveres him as a sacred persona. At the same time as revering him for his sacred skills, some might still criticize him for being less dedicated to his masculine military duties.

In sum, Norse culture is gender-divided but at the same time allows individuals to choose to be themselves.



It is worth noting, all of these mind-manipulations of Seid magic that Norse culture has mixed feelings about, Celtic culture has no difficulty with. There are Bards who are reputed to do every one of these mind-magic effects, and Celtic culture views them a sacred persona.



Anyway. For a "roleplaying" game concerning the Medieval Period, choosing various gender options is self-evidently appropriate.
 
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Shroompunk Warlord

Archdruid of the Warp Zones
It never ceases to amaze me how many people will double-down on the defense of racism and sexism in RPGs on the basis of "historical accuracy" while at the same time having physics-altering magic, talking mushroom folk, and giant, fire-breathing flying lizards.

Doubly so when the mushroom people and fire-breathing lizards are less inaccurate than the authentic historicity they're shilling.

Reminds me of the saying I always quote but can never credit: if you're writing a historical fantasy set in Medieval England about a black yeoman farmer and his exiled samurai husband trying to save their beleaguered potato farm... the potatoes are the least realistic element.

Generally speaking, making any major life choice for the purpose of rebelling against a perceived authority is always a bad idea. If the authority is doing it wrong... develop a clear vision for doing it right, set an example, and become the authority that dumb kids rebel against. As someone who believes that TSR D&D was better than WotC D&D, I'm not interested in hearing why WotC D&D sucks... I am interested in alternatives.

And nobody ever loved TSR D&D because it was more racist and sexist than the alternatives. Not a single person I have ever lost my temper with, raised my voice towards, or put on my Ignore List has ever said they wanted WotC D&D to be more sexist and more racist than it was.
 

Also, if I'm reading that right (and I hope I'm not), is he outright saying that the whole purpose of doing this is to cater to people who feel "dissed" because they want to enforce two genders?

If that's true, they can all go to h e double l.

I don't think he meant it in a trans bashing way, I think he just meant regular old school fans who don't use woke jargon and maybe don't really understand it. Like emphasising its an apolitical company.
 

JediSoth

Semi-Professional Author
Although I am not for racism or sexism in an fashion, you might be surprised on how many people NEVER have this drama or debate at their table. I have played since the 80s, and never has OOC sexism or racism been an issue.

My my my the sensitive might not like my games. OOC, sexism and racism and anti-LGBT+ is not allowed at my table (along with politics). IC, however, there is TONS of in-character racism when the humans enter the dwarven mine. TONS of racism when the group tries to negotiate with lizardmen. TONS of in-character sexism when the female barbarian steps up into the gladiatorial arena.

And can you believe it... no one at my table has ever been offended! (I asked)
It's never been an issue at my tables, either.

But then, there is a big difference between sexism and racism by NPCs in the narrative and sexism and racism codified in the rules.
 


JediSoth

Semi-Professional Author
Look, I can't speak for Ernie. I know his brother Luke much better, and I wouldn't claim to speak for him, either. All I can say what my perceptions of the situation are. And it seems to me we have a person who is jealous of all the people who have parlayed their love of his father's game into a way to make money for them. Sometimes, it seem like a substantial amount of money (I don't know how much Critical Role pulls in for its creators, but I can see how people could think Matthew Mercer & Co. are making huge bank). And, this man is upset that, as the son of one of the creators of this life-changing game, he's NOT been able to parlay that into a comfortable living for himself. Not since the days of the big Hollywood parties in the '80s when he was out there working on the cartoon and such (and wasn't in charge of the company, something I suspect he was always told he'd get to be someday and we all know how that worked out).

I sympathize with where I believe his psyche may be. Heck, I've been playing for nearly 40 years and I still get down that I haven't been able to figure out how to make it into a comfortable career. But that in no way reduces the amount of cringe I'm seeing that seems to hover around things people who want to return to The One True Way™ like a cloud of flies around a pile of refuse.
 

Shroompunk Warlord

Archdruid of the Warp Zones
I don't think he meant it in a trans bashing way, I think he just meant regular old school fans who don't use woke jargon and maybe don't really understand it. Like emphasising its an apolitical company.
You know, every edition of D&D ever had a sex/gender slot on the character sheet but only one of them ever had a single rule concerning it. Two, maybe, if you count drow in 3.5 having different favored classes. I never filled it in half the time, because I was a dude, the character was a dude, all my characters were dudes.

The only time the D&D rules ever told me that gender wasn't whatever the hell I wanted it to be, was when his father wrote them. Nobody ever needed Ernie Gygax Jr. to save them from the tyranny of absolute indifference before, and nobody needs him to save them now.
 


Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
Well, I suppose the good news is that neither Giantlands or Marmolade (however it's spelled) have fulfilled their promised Kickstarters yet years after launch, so those "old fashioned gamers who only want two genders" probably won't see any actual products.
Well, I backed the Marmoreal KS because I wanted (what I thought would be) a cool dungeon and some environs, certainly not because of this political garbage, of which I was actually unaware back then, so I must say that I did not appreciate this comment, even though I get where you're coming from.
 
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Yaarel

Mind Mage
I don't think he meant it in a trans bashing way, I think he just meant regular old school fans who don't use woke jargon and maybe don't really understand it. Like emphasising its an apolitical company.
The phrases like "protection from evil", "fireball", "lemmings", make Ernie come across as aggressive, hostile, political, reactionary, and less innocent.

I dont want to read him this way. But I have to be honest. And concerned.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
I don't think he meant it in a trans bashing way, I think he just meant regular old school fans who don't use woke jargon and maybe don't really understand it. Like emphasising its an apolitical company.
There exist LGBTQ+ people though, and always have, right? So is choosing only to portray cis-het relationships (so, if a couple in a relationship are running an inn, it's always a man and woman) making a political choice?
 

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