The TTRPG Industry: Designing Safer Games

Not too long ago, I was at Pax Unplugged doing a panel with some wonderful people on Safety in Gaming. It was a great panel with great people on great and important things. The subtitle of the panel, created by the hosts Kienna Shaw and Lauren Bryant-Monk, was More Than Safety Tools. I was excited by this title because I think safety tools are, and remain, an afterthought in gaming.

Safety Tools are a conversation in gaming that is dependent on a couple universal truths we don't generally acknowledge. Instead, we focus on the here and the now. Like most people not accustomed to examining the history or the reason beyond a phenomenon, we keep plodding forward on the same path never asking "Where are we going?" or "Where did we come from?"

We can't figure out what Safety Tools are if we don't know why they exist. These universal truths are the why of Safety Tools.

The first universal truth of safety tools, is that games aren't safe. In order to ackno…

The TTRPG Industry: The Sexist Price of Admission Part Three

Another week has gone by and everyone I know is exhausted. I've had a lot of long conversations and it's honestly painful to realize how harmful all of this has been to me. I spoke at length with a friend tonight on how much this industry has cost me, personally, even just this year.

He asked, "Why keep going?"

I didn't have a good answer besides my weirdly dedicated love for gaming and my ardent hope that it can be better. It's the question that never feels like I have an adequate answer for, besides knowing that I can make small differences. And every little difference, for me, regardless of how much it costs, seems to be worth it. Hope springs eternal, they say.

This is the last ten of a list of thirty. This is the final part of this blog post. It won't be the last time I post about sexism and it won't be the last time men hurt me. But it will be a monument to these last eight months and a piece of writing for me to look to when I wonder why I'…

The TTRPG Industry: The Sexist Price of Admission Part Two

It's been a week and the industry has been shaken--again--because there are abusers in our midst. I've watched a lot of horrific reports pour out on Twitter and other social media platforms. I've watched known abusers who have been outed complain about how unfair it is on Facebook and tell their friends it's nothing but hate campaigns.

And, as always, I've watched people be silent in response. There comes a point where we need to really take a hard look at the infrastructure we have and who the prominent people are that have risen to power. We, as an industry, support and promote abusers. They often are well known in the industry and their artistry can and does protect them.

We need to examine the way our communities and industry culture supports abusers and ostracizes victims. TTRPGs has historically been terrible for wanting to "just play games" or "not have politics involved." Those of us getting hurt just want to play games, too. Don't y…

The TTRPG Industry: The Sexist Price of Admission: Part One

This has been a year of silence. Not the silence of inactivity, but the painful silence of suffering. This is the year I stopped sharing my experiences with the TTRPG Industry publicly and started to endure quietly. I stopped posting on social media about the things I experienced. I stopped talking about what was happening to me. Instead, I learned to cry by myself and smile when asked how I was. I learned to swallow the anger and persist through every insult and every wound.

Why? Well, because a man told me to, of course.

I was told that talking about the sexist experiences I encountered made a man uncomfortable. And because I loved him and have codependent behaviours, I listened. I cut off my source of stability and one of my sources of power to please him. To make him feel safer. It took awhile before I noticed it was done to isolate me.

Men exercise power in personal and professional relationships every day in the industry. Some use it to promote and make space for marginalized pe…