Friday, September 11, 2015

'Tournament of Rapists' hysteria hits the Big Time!

Right-wing news website has published an article about the Tournament of Rapists dust-up. You can read it here. It's mostly a factual account of the crusade launched by the Brigades of the Outraged, Onebookshelf's response, and the appearance of a new mob of unreasoning, hysterical people.

You can't tell, but it goes to 11.
While the Brietbar writer (Allum Bokhari) gets more things right than the majority of those I see still commenting about the "controversy"--fanatical dingbats at either end of the spectrum whose main objective it seems is to keep outrage alive and to encourage "action" not against the publisher of the offending product but rather against, a company that hundreds of publishers and thousands of independent creators use to distribute their products online--he has picked up and amplified their favorite line; That Tournament of Rapists is a game.

The offending product was not a game. Period. I really wish people would stop parading their ignorance around. I don't care what "side" of this "fight" they're on. I'm not terribly surprised that the Brigades of the Outraged don't know what it is they're actually outraged about--why let facts of reality get in the way of a good riot?--but lately I've been seeing equally ignorant blather from people who should know better.

It's gaming brilliance, but NOT a game.
Tournament of Rapists is not a game. Not even close. It was a supplement to a setting that uses the same game engine that many NUELOW Games releases use. It's the same game engine that the popular Pathfinder Roleplaying Game uses. All of our publications are produced, to a greater or lesser extent, by virtue of the Open Game License. But Tournament of Rapists was no more than a "game" than Modern Basics: Jungle Action or Feary Tales are games. They are supplements. They are part of a vast tapestry of available roleplaying supplements, tiny threads that have no meaning or purpose beyond the game they tie into.

If bug-eyed, would-be morality police (followed closely by equally hysterical freedom of expression supporters) hadn't seized on Tournament of Rapists as a way to further their respective agendas, this thing would have sold half a dozens copies and then slipped into oblivion... maybe selling one or two additional ones each month. (I am assuming something as niche-of-a-niche as this would sell on the level of items I consider failures here at NUELOW). In other words, no one would have known or cared of its existence. Certainly, there wouldn't be shrieking mobs of ill-informed assholes calling for "action" against literally thousands of creative people who had nothing whatsoever to do with Tournament of Rapists.

I have, as they say, a dog in this fight. NUELOW Games has an exclusive distribution agreement with Back in 2011, when we were reviving NUELOW, I emailed (another online distributor/retailer of games) to see if they would carry us... and Warehouse23 couldn't even be bothered to give me the courtesy of a reply. Onebookshelf, on the other hand, has always been responsive to my questions as a publisher, They also mostly leave me alone to manage my own little store that is serviced on their sites. Just like they do with everyone else who publishes and distributes through them.

I like that freedom. I like the fact that they treat me as if I matter, even though my company is strictly small-fry. (We never have strong enough sales to make to the left-hand listing of publishers on the front page, and we rarely break the Top 50% of best-selling publishers in a month, except for the niches we serve where we are usually in the Top 5%... but that's a sign of how small the audience is for what we produce rather than a measure of success). However, the freedom that I have to release what I want, when I want, and how I want--within certain well-defined technical quality parameters--is what the mob of would-be censors want to put a stop to. I've seen some of the greater idiots issue demands for Onebookshelf to approve releases before they go up, because of the "rape game" that, as I spelled out above, never existed.

Onebookshelf came up with a policy to handle "offensive content" that should satisfy any reasonable person. You can read it here if you like.. It provides a way for the outraged to inform management of their displeasure, and it spells out the steps that Onebookshelf's staff will take in response to said outrage that is fair to publishers and the hyperventilating alike. It's a policy that more or less keeps business as usual, but adds a safety valve to the process.

Naturally, it didn't appease the most fanatical of the self-righteous crusaders. They continue to stir up their mobs, who continue to swallow their half-baked cow chips and fantasies about a "rape game.' That is not particularly shocking to me, as I long ago observed that the worst thing you can do is to let the self-righteous leaders mobs of the perpetually offended sense weakness; nothing will satisfy them.and they will just keep coming. All you can do is make sure they don't have convincing arguments for the intelligent and sane majority out there.

Aw, hell. Another Internet Mob. Is there an unending supply of halfwits out there?
But. to my surprise, the sensible policy of Onebookshelf inspired another group to encourage minions to go on a rampage of boycotts and general stupidity. "Onebookshelf has given into the mob," they claimed. "Onebookshelf is going to censor our game! Look! They already banned that game over there--the rape game, you've been hearing about! Take your business elsewhere!"

Yeah... certain publishers, proclaimed libertarians, and self-described and self-appointed defenders or roleplaying games were now using the same fucking approach that the self-appointed morality- and thought-police were using. People who should know better, who should be able to recognize a "business as usual" policy, were stirring up new mobs of uniformed halfwits that, in the long run, could only have the effect of damaging everyone's business. To make it worse, they were just as unable to tell a "game" from a "supplement," as the Brigades of the Outraged.

There are morons to the left of me, and there are idiots to the right. Which brings me back to the top.

The Breitbart writer got his facts wrong, just like the Brigades of the Outraged. It's rather embarrassing for him that his article is under a headline stating "Social Justice Warriors Attack Tabletop Gaming, Get Their Facts Hopelessly Wrong," since he accepted the total white-wash that Skortched Urf put forth about Tournament of Rapists AND he picked up the distortion that it's a "game." I would have much preferred this article--which is well-intended and exactly in the place where reasonable people should stand on the topic of Onebookshelf, the hundreds of publishers served by it, and Tournament of Rapists--wasn't marred by the distortions spewed by those who want to make it more difficult for me to publish what I want, and for you to buy what you want for your gaming groups.

Well... thank you for reading. Do come back some other time when I may actually have posted some fun game content--most likely not a game, though. Just something that can be used with a game. If you made it this far, however, you must either be a real fan, or really bored. In either case, perhaps I can interest you in some of the products carried by Onebookshelf that I have contributed to for NUELOW Games, TSR, Wizards of the Coast, White Wolf and several others? Your purchase will be a symbolic and actual victory over the rampaging Internet Warriors. Click here to see a selection of what is available.

Please? Everything you buy helps me and other creators pay rent and eat.

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