Wednesday, December 7, 2016

An open letter to Rick Priestly and John Lambshead

Just got handed this gem by DiceBag Lady at Badsquidso games.

It's an excerpt from "Tabletop Wargames – A Designers’ and Writers’ Handbook".


Speaking personally as someone who er 'transmogrified' from a David into a Delaney, all I can say to Rick Priestly and John Lambshead is this.

Fuck you.

Fuck you from the bottom of my heart.  Fuck you and your transphobic, misogynistic, bigoted little brains.  You should be ashamed of yourselves.  You behaviour here towards women gamers, towards transwomen and (for some reason moreso) to transmen is a stain on our hobby.  You want to take responsibility for the damage you cause people like me?  For all the hurt and humiliation that spreading drivel like this to the community causes us.  Trans people are murdered, are attacked and driven to suicide by people who read material like this and think we are a joke- in your words 'unsettling'.

Transphobia aside, the misogyny here is disgusting.  You wonder why men treat women gamers poorly that we leave the hobby?  Do you even think for a minute about what our experiences are like attempting to engage the hobby?  This is what is waiting for us.

Oh and this gem...


'It?' Seriously, you think that is okay to call someone non binary?  Like, I dunno... intersex people like myself?  Am I an 'it' to you?  An 'unsettling' 'it' perhaps?

Pull this book, revise it and clean up your fucking act.

Our hobby deserves to be better than this.

UPDATE:  and a response?  Hmmm...


And then...


John is currently being called out by other women gamers right now.  His responses, I am told, are disgusting and childish. However he has blocked me, so I will just have to imagine.

I hope Rick carries himself with more dignity.

22 comments:

  1. I'm disappointed to read those excerpts. I can imagine how hurtful they are.

    I remember, 10 or 15 years ago, when Dragon magazine began using both he and she in their articles. I applauded the change. Sometimes it got confusing when they'd change pronouns within a single article: Is this "he" the same gamer as the earlier "she"? But even then it wasn't a big deal.

    John's tweets, though, are just churlish. Maybe those gamers calling him out for his tweets will help him come to a better understanding. Maybe.

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    1. I don't think he intends to pay heed to what anyone has to say about it. He blocked my one Twitter account for trying to objectively state why people were upset. I was not combative. It must be beyond him to admit when he was wrong.

      Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Delaney. Lambshead will be getting none of my support.

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  2. I thought John's responses after blocking you were not very bright. You didn't miss anything.

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  3. That's really disappointing, I could have understood it better if there was an apology forthcoming along the lines of 'sorry this was thoughtless and with hindsight, narrow-minded, it's been educational to read your blog'. John's response sounds unsympathetic and frankly makes him out to be a bit dim. Not someone I'm going to be interested in as an author.

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    1. He's written a bunch of supplements for Bolt Action and I think he's the author of Warlord's upcoming Doctor Who game. Jusy FYI. I was wondering myself what he has done before.

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  4. Time to get the Rainbow warrior out again :
    http://leadplague.blogspot.fr/2016/06/this-rainbow-warrior-kills-fascists.html

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  5. I wsa willing to allow for a misplaced joke, or an exaggeration for the sake of argument (it's difficult to get the full sense of things with just a paragraph). But the twitter replies left things clear. I don't know think I'll be sending my business over to Mr. Lambshead's way.

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  6. I initially assumed this paragraph was written in the late 70's early 80's...... unfortunately not. It's not only Tory MP's who make complete asses of themselves.

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  7. When authors use she it has never bothered me. I just assumed they were using it to purposefully promote the idea of female gamers. It would be really easy when demonstrating a mechanic of the rules to just say "Bill and Tina are playing against each other. Tina activates her squad of archers and uses it to attack Bill's werebadger"

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  8. You are 100% in the right here.

    I mean, I know you know that, but, other people know it, too.

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  9. Last I checked (which was admittedly a couple of editions ago) the DnD books alternated "he" and "she" between chapters and, when there was more than one person in the conversation, gave the two different genders (which actually makes communication MUCH EASIER than only using the masculine because the pronoun automatically tells you which player is being spoken about). This would seem an obvious choice if for some reason you're insistent on avoiding "they" (which is not, by the way, ungrammatical).

    Also Lambshead is a fuckwit.

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  10. I was so sure these excerpts were from the 70's. "These guys are gonna be soo ashamed this gets dragged up today". No? Ok, none of my business coming their way then. That response on Twitter is just tragic.

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  12. Books switching these words around certainly never bothered me and when I've seen them use "she" I just thought it was good they were being inclusive. I certainty wasn't "unsettled" when the books would switch between them and I find it offensive to reinforce the idea that "anyone" would be. I don't think I've read a book that does it as excessively as they seem to try to exaggerate. I can't stand this attitude which perpetuates that only men game. Plenty of people game and talk like you've quoted is part of the reason plenty of people aren't comfortable doing so publicly. To say they wrote the book light heartedly doesn't fly. This basically tells the people they're teaching in their book, "Only target men with your games, they're still your only audience no matter what liberal gamers try to tell you." Ugh.

    As a writer of tutorials myself, I don't feel I've ever worried about pronouns. I guess I have a different writing style though. I focus on facts and speak to the reader, "you." Finding all sorts of other ways to refer to readers seems alienating to me. I want to connect with the person reading my work and instill the same feeling in them, so I'll speak to them. Aka, "You'll want to use an old brush when dry brushing." I feel like saying, "The reader should consider using an old brush when when he wants to dry brush," is stodgy and condescending. Like as the author I'd be drawing a firm line in the ground to say, "I'm the teacher, you're the student." It's very old fashioned.

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  13. I don't have any disagreement with this post. I think you're spot on and I'm pretty unimpressed with Rick Priestly and John Lambshead. I wrote a few comments of my own on my blog, for what it's worth. http://wargamestuff.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/a-brief-observation-of-casual-sexism.html

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  14. Well said Delaney, such a shame that this sort of thing still exists in gaming

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  15. "Loony land central."

    Nasty man.
    He will not be welcome on my forum by many, not be my for sure, I can think of one site that would appreciate such sexist/hateful remarks though...

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  16. What irks me more is Priestly and Lambshead's rank idiotic attempt at humor with the bit about pronouns switching genders mid-example. I have never seen that happen anywhere, in gaming or out, except for typos.

    What you are instructed to do, by any editor who hasn't got their ass firmly situated in 1913, at least, is to provide a diversity of genders in your playing example. A diversitynof ethhnic names, too. Priestly and Lambshead must know this, because they didn't start writing yesterday. And yet, for some reason, they choose to make a parody out of this eminently common-sensical practice. If it's an honest attempt at a joke, it falls flat and makes Mistresses Preistly and Lambshead look like a pair of six year olds giggling over a fart joke.

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    1. Except that fart jokes are actually funny.

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  17. Looks like John Lambstead has deleted his twitter.

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  18. I want to say the first place I saw something like this was in White Wolf's Storyteller work in the early 90s. I give them tremendous credit for helping to transform the world of pen and paper roll playing from a hack and slash sausage festival heavy on dice and math into something altogether more interesting, story driven, and inclusive. It was a VERY welcome change. The older style of gaming persists if you wish that. (Dying early and often and with much math and many sorts of dice can make for a particular sort of game interest.) But the new style has made the hobby richer and broader. And it has given folks like me that really enjoy using roll playing to tell a good story and exercise our acting bugs an opportunity to do so among friends.

    I really would have thought this little bit of invective Misters Lambshead and Priestly sent out under their names was quite a lot older. It saddens me deeply to see that it's new. A revolution in tabletop minaitures gaming similar to that in role playing from the 90s is well overdue. (And maybe finally underway.)

    Somehow it shouldn't surprise me that Lambshead is behind Bolt Action. I am quite tempted to game the Pacific Theatre, as that's where my grandfather and most of his brothers fought, so I picked up their Pacific supplements, and there's . . . something a bit off about them. Especially in the art.

    Yes. Time for more rainbow warriors. A friend of mine is coming up with his own Care-Bear inspired chapter. For me, I'll perhaps go back to the classic. (And hope like heck Mr. Priestly can see his way back to what he once helped to create, and maybe find a new and better path forward from there.)

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