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Impromptu Stream with Ed Greenwood, Tim Kask, & TSR CCO

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Or do you think the negative feelings they have about being swept up in all of this are invalid?

I just saw a thing that allows me to frame a response to this:

Their feelings are what they are. It is not for me to speak to their feelings, or call them invalid.

However, feelings are not actions, behaviors, or choices. Your feelings do not give whatever you do a free pass. Having feelings does not mean your choices are good, constructive ones, above criticism. Feelings are not automatically justification.
 

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At one point Kask brought up Gygax's "nits make lice" comment and defended as an old saying whose meaning has changed over time. @Doug McCrae has pointed out the actual, and much more charged, history of that phrase. I wasn't aware that Tim Kask had an opinion about that, but now I am! Kask says he's ok with dnd being an evolving game, but it also seems to me that he takes the direction of its evolution as an attack on him personally and early dnd in general.
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
At one point Kask brought up Gygax's "nits make lice" comment and defended as an old saying whose meaning has changed over time. @Doug McCrae has pointed out the actual, and much more charged, history of that phrase. I wasn't aware that Tim Kask had an opinion about that, but now I am! Kask says he's ok with dnd being an evolving game, but it also seems to me that he takes the direction of its evolution as an attack on him personally and early dnd in general.
Yeah, that's not great. I'm not sure what "alternate meaning" the phrase "nits make lice" could have. It's obviously horrific, racist, and calling for genocide. It's literally saying to kill children so that they won't grow up to be adults and have more children. Applying it to D&D races just makes them even more problematic.
 

Marc_C

Solitary Role Playing
At one point Kask brought up Gygax's "nits make lice" comment and defended as an old saying whose meaning has changed over time. @Doug McCrae has pointed out the actual, and much more charged, history of that phrase. I wasn't aware that Tim Kask had an opinion about that, but now I am! Kask says he's ok with dnd being an evolving game, but it also seems to me that he takes the direction of its evolution as an attack on him personally and early dnd in general.
It's the WoTC disclaimer added to all the pdfs of old D&D products that triggers that reaction. What they hold has their legacy is now considered 'expired' from today's point of view.
 
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Marc_C

Solitary Role Playing
It seems every generation has to learn the hard way that they will, in time, fade into irrelevance.
If someone bases the value of his life on work, he will will be disappointed. I worked very hard for 20 years for the same company making it grow. Last time I checked, a few weeks ago, only 2 people I knew still work there. No one else knows me. Such is life.

It's better to base the value of your life on your significant other, family, friends and post-work activities. There are two types of older people. Sour Grapes who don't want the world to change and Fresh Grapes who keep on being curious even in the winter of life.
 

Doug McCrae

Legend
At one point Kask brought up Gygax's "nits make lice" comment and defended as an old saying whose meaning has changed over time. @Doug McCrae has pointed out the actual, and much more charged, history of that phrase. I wasn't aware that Tim Kask had an opinion about that, but now I am! Kask says he's ok with dnd being an evolving game, but it also seems to me that he takes the direction of its evolution as an attack on him personally and early dnd in general.
Here's my old post about Gygax's use of the phrase and some of the historical background.

Gygax does seem to be saying "it is an observable fact", in our world, that if the children of those considered enemy peoples are permitted to live they will inevitably become enemies too. He uses that "observable fact" about our world to justify the killing of humanoid non-combatants in D&D world. Gygax mentions Colonel Chivington by name and refers to his usage, which is a strange thing to do if he's using it in a different sense.
 
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Marc_C

Solitary Role Playing
For those who don't know, like me, who Chivington was: "Chivington gained infamy[1] for leading a 700-man force of Colorado Territory militia during the massacre at Sand Creek in November 1864. An estimated 70–163 peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho – about two-thirds of whom were women, children, and infants – were killed and mutilated by his troops. Chivington and his men took scalps and other body parts as battle trophies, including human fetuses and male and female genitalia."
 

For those who don't know, like me, who Chivington was: "Chivington gained infamy[1] for leading a 700-man force of Colorado Territory militia during the massacre at Sand Creek in November 1864. An estimated 70–163 peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho – about two-thirds of whom were women, children, and infants – were killed and mutilated by his troops. Chivington and his men took scalps and other body parts as battle trophies, including human fetuses and male and female genitalia."

Chivington might have been quoted as saying "nits make lice," but he is certainly not the first one to make such an observation as it is an observable fact. If you have read the account of wooden Leg, a warrior of the Cheyenne tribe that fought against Custer et al., he dispassionately noted killing an enemy squaw for the reason in question.

Cheers,
Gary
The author of Keep on the Borderlands, everyone!
 

Mercurius

Legend
This thread and topic in general really (further) illustrates a basic problem: people aren't really listening to each other. We're demonizing each other and pushing each other to extreme, caricatured versions. We're not really hearing or seeing who the "other" is, but railing against our own version of them, which often is quite different than who they actually are, or what they're really saying.

This is not to say that there aren't people on the extreme fringes of both sides of whatever spectrum that truly embody the "demon" we're upset with, but that they are far fewer than the larger conversation and resulting conflict would imply. And as someone said in this thread, the problem is far worse on social media and online forums than it is in real life. The result is a war between entrenched positions, not people - just people going along with currents that issue from the extremes.

So I think we all need to be careful, take a step back, breathe, and remember that there are real humans on the other side of the avatar and text. If you watch any of the video, you might be reminded that Tim Kask and Ed Greenwood are, before anything else, a couple of older guys who love D&D, and have contributed greatly to its development. If you listen to what they're actually saying, and not presume they really mean something else, they might not seem as objectionable. And this goes for the "other side" (if we must pick sides, which being a gamma lone wolf type, I prefer not to!): most of the objections and desires for changes are derived from real suffering, from concerns about treating people with respect and inclusiveness, not from a desire to control or castigate.

So often the message gets lost in the medium. We've entered a McLuhanian nightmare. There has to be a way through this, and I think part of that is said in the above: remembering that there is a person, certainly imperfect, on the other side.
 

This thread and topic in general really (further) illustrates a basic problem: people aren't really listening to each other. We're demonizing each other and pushing each other to extreme, caricatured versions. We're not really hearing or seeing who the "other" is, but railing against our own version of them, which often is quite different than who they actually are, or what they're really saying.

I feel the need to point out that some of us are trying to listen, but have been actively ignored. Not just passively ignored, where someone doesn't answer every post. But straight up looked in the faced, acknowledged that a question was asked, and immediately passed over to a different subject. You can't maintain an open ear forever when the other side will only talk about the things they want to talk about. That's not a discussion, it's an exercise in control. It only takes one side to stop listening for the conversation to break down.
 

nyvinter

Explorer
But . . . it didn't take long before BOTH Michael and the WordNerd pissed me off. WordNerd complains about how folks are now overly concerned about other's life choices, when we didn't used to be . . . . then Michael suggests that the awful messages tweeted by TSR 3.0 could have the result of being hacked by Russian trolls essentially . . . . only to backtrack and blame Gygax's and LaNasa's tweets on some nameless employee who was "ghostwriting" for them, and now no longer works for TSR . . . which is complete and utter crap.
This shouldn't be a surprise. Five seconds of looking at WordNerd's twitter and you'll see that he's part of War Campaign, you know, the splinter group that felt that Comicsgate wasn't genuine enough about culture war and harassment. So this and the ten minute+ rant at the beginning of the video seems on point for what they do.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
... they are far fewer than the larger conversation and resulting conflict would imply.

So, as a counter - do you recognize how squishy that statement is? There is, in fact, nothing concrete in it at all - we don't know how many the resulting conversation and conflict implies, nor do we know how many fewer actually exist. This tells us nothing we can get a handle on.

More importantly, we don't know that we agree on what number of jerkwads in the mix is "acceptable". "There are less than implied," does not mean, "There is a low enough number to let it pass."
 

MGibster

Legend
I'd never heard the saying, and now I wish I had remained ignorant.
I always thought the phrase originated as some sort of innocuous saying meaning, "take care of the small problems today or they'll become bigger problems tomorrow" and it's just that some people applied it to human beings. Nope, it turns out that phrase has a fairly long history of being used to justify slaughtering non-combatants including children.

But I find it odd that Gygax would use that to justify the behavior of a character in D&D. Even if people in real life "reasoned" their way into justifying barbaric behavior, why would that apply in a fantasy game? It doesn't seem to me that Sir Wendell would kill a baby just because he or she might grow up to be an enemy.
 

I always thought the phrase originated as some sort of innocuous saying meaning, "take care of the small problems today or they'll become bigger problems tomorrow" and it's just that some people applied it to human beings. Nope, it turns out that phrase has a fairly long history of being used to justify slaughtering non-combatants including children.

But I find it odd that Gygax would use that to justify the behavior of a character in D&D. Even if people in real life "reasoned" their way into justifying barbaric behavior, why would that apply in a fantasy game? It doesn't seem to me that Sir Wendell would kill a baby just because he or she might grow up to be an enemy.
his justification is basically: alignment!
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
But I find it odd that Gygax would use that to justify the behavior of a character in D&D. Even if people in real life "reasoned" their way into justifying barbaric behavior, why would that apply in a fantasy game? It doesn't seem to me that Sir Wendell would kill a baby just because he or she might grow up to be an enemy.

So ... quick story.

I love B2. Truly. Keep on the Borderlands is a stone-cold classic.

....but if you've run it recently, it doesn't work so well. I mean, most of it does. But ... there's a whole lot of children and women of humanoids that either need killin', or are going to attack the party. If you know what I mean.

And, honestly, I can tell you that I don't remember it bothering me way back when. But when I tried to run it again recently, I had to get rid of that. Because ... no no no no no no no.
 

Dausuul

Legend
I always thought the phrase originated as some sort of innocuous saying meaning, "take care of the small problems today or they'll become bigger problems tomorrow" and it's just that some people applied it to human beings. Nope, it turns out that phrase has a fairly long history of being used to justify slaughtering non-combatants including children.

But I find it odd that Gygax would use that to justify the behavior of a character in D&D. Even if people in real life "reasoned" their way into justifying barbaric behavior, why would that apply in a fantasy game? It doesn't seem to me that Sir Wendell would kill a baby just because he or she might grow up to be an enemy.
Gygax referenced that saying in its original context of "massacring children." He even name-checked the real historical colonel who used it when ordering a massacre of women, children, and elders. He was explaining why it's cool for a paladin to kill baby orcs.

There's really no way to defend that. I tried starting from the proposition that Gygax was a wargamer who enjoyed strategizing toward the optimal path to victory, and so he wanted to have "bad guy" races where you didn't have to consider the moral dimension of your strategy. And then I get to the bit where Gygax (a noted history buff) brings in an actual historical atrocity, and he clearly knows what he is talking about, and he cites it as support for his argument, and there's just no place you can go from there other than "Holy smokes, Gary, what the hell were you thinking?"

I haven't listened to the podcast, so perhaps Tim Kask was totally ignorant of what Gygax said and the context he said it in, and he assumed the same thing you did (it's just a way to say you should take care of problems early). I hope so, for his sake, because otherwise... yeah.
 
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Gygax referenced that saying in its original context of "massacring children." He even name-checked the real historical colonel who used it when ordering a massacre of women, children, and elders. He was explaining why it's cool for a paladin to kill baby orcs.

There's really no way to defend that. I tried starting from the proposition that Gygax was a wargamer who enjoyed strategizing toward the optimal path to victory, and so he wanted to have "bad guy" races where you didn't have to consider the moral dimension of your strategy. And then I get to the bit where Gygax (a noted history buff) brings in an actual historical atrocity, and he clearly knows what he is talking about, and he cites it as support for his argument, and there's just no place you can go from there other than "Holy smokes, Gary, what the hell were you thinking?"

I haven't listened to the podcast, so perhaps Tim Kask was totally ignorant of what Gygax said and the context he said it in, and he assumed the same thing you did (it's just a way to say you should take care of problems early). I hope so, for his sake, because otherwise... yeah.
He is referencing the exact context in which Gygax made the comments. I went back to find the exact time (YOU'RE WELCOME). It's here (~2:15:45)


Starting at 153:30 they start a discussion mocking "wokeness," then trigger warnings, then inclusivity, then rant about demons and orcs being evil, then back to making fun of trigger warnings
 

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