Saturday, May 4, 2013

Letter to a new player

We've been recruiting for more players for our co-DMed old school sandbox.  We've used a variety of means: Pen and Paper games, Meetup, forums - and personals sites (really - a higher percentage of those folks actually reply and show up to game, go figure.)
One of our new perspective players emailed the other DM to ask if his group (there's only one group) was "inclined to share our political views."

Our current group includes a variety of people - women, poly people, queers, etc.  This is Seattle, so it's generally left of center too.  But we're not recruiting for an underground cell or anything - just people it would be fun to game with.

Here's the background:

I met two prospective players at my girlfriend's coffee shop this week.  We talked about the campaign and rolled up characters.  I did wear a hat with a small rainbow pin, but otherwise I had no overt badges, and no agenda besides the game.  95%+  of what we talked about was how we like to play pretend elfs and roll funny dice.

There were two exceptions to that conversation focus.

The first was that one of the guys, an avid computer gamer and first time table top player, mentioned how so many computer game conventions that he did not understand were being explained to him now that he was learning about table top games.  I replied that many of the computer game pioneers got their start in tabletop games, one of whom of course was Jennell Jacquays; I did mention that Jennell transitioned from Paul to Jennell just as she had transitioned from tabletop to the computer, going from 3 dimensional dungeon layouts to 3 dimensional Quake and Halo levels.  The double mention of transition wasn't meant to be anything other than a poor pun and one that I don't think Jennell herself passes up on her own bio page ("the future will be about changes").

The second exception was the May Day Anti-Capitalist March, that was chased by the Seattle Police up the street right outside the coffee shop.  (Normally I'd have attended such a march, but I'd gone to the earlier Workers and Immigrant Rights March, and I'm trying to give a leg injury time to heal - and last year the black bloc was a bit unjudicious with their choice of property destruction as speech).  The Seattle Police armored personnel carrier rolled by, and I made the remark "Our tax dollars at work."

The spectacle passed and we went back to talking about how we pretend to be elfs and wizards.

The next day the other player, having rolled up his halforc, emailed the other DM, asking if his group was "inclined to sharing your political opinions" and if not he'd "like to switch groups".

The other DM just messaged him that 'this might not be a good fit.' I didn't want to quite leave it at that, so this is what I sent to him:

XXXX,

I understand you wondered about the politics of the group and all that.  Well, we try to make a group that is welcoming to people of all kinds - queers, women, poly people, anyone who wants to play.  A lot of the world, a lot of the gaming world, is not so welcoming to them (us, speaking for myself.)  So it might feel 'political' to you.

If a person's politics fits into the status quo, then nothing in the status quo feels political.  But if you're outside the status quo, everything is objectionably "political".    So a place that feels political to you might be just relaxed to others.

Understand we'd like to have you at the table.  You seem like a real enthusiastic player - and that's fun.

In the wider gaming world, women are often assumed to not be serious players, gay is used as a pejorative and people censor themselves to fit in.  We want a table were everyone has respect and we don't have to censor our preferences and beliefs.

It's also just one group.  You could certainly only show up when one DM is running the game and not for the other.  But the player community would be pretty much the same.

So if you're cool with us being who we are and can be respectful, then please come and roll dice and pretend to be an elf (or an orc or what-have-you) with us.

cheers, 

redbeard





1 comment:

  1. It's hard enough finding any gaming group, so as long as they don't try to convert me, I don't care about the politics of group members.

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