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Necromancer Games Under Fire?

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
One of the first companies to take advantage of the Open Gaming License and the d20 System Trademark License was Necromancer Games, under the leadership of Clark Peterson - a popular and generous man, and a good friend to EN World and to the gaming community as a whole. It seems now that Clark has come under a bit of fire because of his gaming connections and how this allegedly conflicts with his job as a judge in Idaho.

The Spokesman Review's Scott Maben has posted an article entitled Kootenai County judge’s job, fantasy game hobby blur together which contains remarks like "Many know him as the demon prince Orcus, Lord of the Undead" and accuses him of, amongst other things, immaturity. It even mentions at one point that "he posts well past midnight" and that on his birthday he posted a message on Paizo's messageboards during his lunchbreak. At one point, a complainant claims that "We don’t know if he’s demon lord in the courtroom or if he’s Judge Peterson in the courtroom".

A couple of people in cases which Clark presided over claim that his gaming hobby "falls short of the high standards of conduct expected of judges" and are preparing to file complaints. Peterson himself says "I continue to believe that my hobby activity does not violate any of the canons of judicial conduct, but the perception of the public and the litigants who appear before me is of paramount importance to me."

Clark Peterson's colleague Judge Haynes said Peterson is "extraordinarily engaged in his work.... rather than being distracted, I find him to be an extraordinarily focused judge on the cases that are before him".

I can't speak for anyone else, but I hope that this whole broohah dies down and things work out OK for Clark.
 
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Dausuul

Legend
Clark Peterson is a judge? Wow! I had no idea.

And yeah, this is appalling. The whole piece echoes the hysteria of the '80s. As for posting from work... let that one who has not posted from work cast the first flame.
 

the Jester

Legend
Wow.

I don't even know what to say- would we also attack a judge for participating in a local theater group or writers' circle?
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Great! Satanic Panic Part 2.

Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail.

OTOH, as Isaac Asimov once said, "Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'”

This IS the country that made Judas Priest defend their lyrics in court, after all...

OTOOH, JP wasn't held accountable for the kid's suicide, so maybe cooler heads WILL prevail again.
 
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TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Clark Peterson is a judge? Wow! I had no idea.

And yeah, this is appalling. The whole piece echoes the hysteria of the '80s. As for posting from work... let that one who has not posted from work cast the first flame.

To be fair, I'm not sure Idaho is even aware that MASH has ended yet. So it might not be an 80s echo there, it's more of an arrival. :)
 

howandwhy99

Adventurer
Having spent some time in Idaho I can say it's a great place to live. I do feel sorry for Clark Peterson given the spot he's in. It's difficult to see how these accusations are anything other than a smear campaign or a big misunderstanding, but I do hope everything is cleared up soon. This smells like it may be local politics given how some judgeships are elected. It would be nice if playing RPGs could simply be accepted as akin to playing boardgames or card games.
 


Janx

Hero
It seems that he's fallen into a trap. Everybody has a hobby outside of work. Everybody posts from work on some site (facebook anybody?).

But because 2 litigants didn't win their cases in his court, they did some digging and are using what they found against him by ignoring the fact that everybody (including judges) have lives outside of work.
 

What a truly bizarre article from a generally respected paper. My guess is that the unusual complaint by the litigants got an editor's attention and they assigned it to someone with Internet skills but no background in geek culture.

The notion that this hobby is somehow any more distracting than, say, judges messing with their fantasy football rosters, is ludicrous. And given Clark's regular and extended absences from gaming social media, I'd say it's pretty clear his priorities are pretty spot-on.
 


DaveMage

Slumbering in Tsar
Clark sold Necromancer to Bill Webb and Frog God Games a while back so as far as I know he is no longer involved with it.
 

Jan van Leyden

Adventurer
Who decides what kind of behaviour is appropriate or not? This rules in Idaho mean just one thing, IMHO: more power to the lawyers who can continue a lost process easily by hurling dirt at the judge.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Yes, this is more Clark being under fire, rather than Necromancer Games.

Clark is a good guy. If he gets called onto the carpet, it should be for honest potential issues, not the fear and ignorance stuff.
 

Scorpio616

First Post
Since this person has shown to be litigious, I'll choose my words carefully.
After his mother died in 2010, Tyner contested the will. He claimed that his mother, who suffered from dementia, changed her will and left most of her money to Tyner’s sister as a result of undue influence by the sister, who served as their mother’s caregiver.
Wow...


Clark sold Necromancer to Bill Webb and Frog God Games a while back so as far as I know he is no longer involved with it.
Year and a half ago. http://tsathogga.blogspot.com.au/2012/06/press-release.html
 


Jan van Leyden

Adventurer

Well, I've read this (or rather read section 2 and glanced over the rest) but failed to receive an answer.

Sections like "A judge must avoid all impropriety and appearance of impropriety. A judge must expect to be the subject of constant public scrutiny" or "The test for violation of this Canon is whether the conduct would create in reasonable minds a perception that the judge’s ability to carry out judicial responsibilities with integrity, impartiality and competence is impaired" don't help.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
It seems that he's fallen into a trap. Everybody has a hobby outside of work. Everybody posts from work on some site (facebook anybody?).

But because 2 litigants didn't win their cases in his court, they did some digging and are using what they found against him by ignoring the fact that everybody (including judges) have lives outside of work.

That's pretty much witch hunting for you. It's pretty ridiculous. It's not like he's taking pictures of his genitals and tweeting them.
 

Janx

Hero
Well, I've read this (or rather read section 2 and glanced over the rest) but failed to receive an answer.

From who? Nobody here owes you an answer or is an authority on it. Did you email Idaho and ask them?

Sections like "A judge must avoid all impropriety and appearance of impropriety. A judge must expect to be the subject of constant public scrutiny" or "The test for violation of this Canon is whether the conduct would create in reasonable minds a perception that the judge’s ability to carry out judicial responsibilities with integrity, impartiality and competence is impaired" don't help.

That quote tells me that I should be careful about where and how I engage my non-work activities. Since D&D had a bad rap, and Idaho might host more than a few stereotypes that ring true, I'd be very careful to keep the two separate. Including obfuscating my identity, and NOT posting from work. I don't think I'd want my real name associated with ANYTHING except court cases.

Heck, just presiding over divorce cases while in the midst of a divorce is possibly a conflict of interest to the right observer. Imagine empathizing with a male litigant because you're in the same situation in battling your own crazy wife and her ridiculous demands (choosing male because he is male, not that all or any divorcing wives are bat-crap crazy).

Ignoring the D&D angle, I could see somebody playing an angle on the premise that you shouldn't be judging a divorce while you're in the midst of your own divorce because it colors how you perceive a case and its sides.
 

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