Scrambling the Reactor: The Death of an almost 2 decade old D&D club.

For any and all pen and paper RPG discussions and games.
Forum rules

1) This is a Christian site, respect our beliefs and we will respect yours.

2) This is a family friendly site, no swearing or posting offensive links, pictures, or signatures.

3) Please be respectful of others.

4) Trolls are not welcome and will be dealt with accordingly.

5) No racial comments, jokes or images

6) If you see a dead thread over 6 months old, let it rest in peace

7) No Duplicate posts
User avatar
ArcticFox
CCGR addict
Posts: 3485
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2007 7:00 pm
Are you human?: Yes!
Contact:

Scrambling the Reactor: The Death of an almost 2 decade old D&D club.

Postby ArcticFox » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:14 pm

This happened in August of this year, and I haven't run a session of D&D since.

My D&D group has always been made up of a variety of different people with different beliefs. We've had Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Independents. We've had Protestants, Catholics, Atheists, Mormons, Quakers. We've had gay, straight, bi. We've had Caucasian, latino, black. You name the demographic and chances are we've had someone play in our group at some point that represents it.

This group has run almost continuously since 2000. That's right, nearly 20 years. I've DMmed for longer than that, but this club, this campaign world, has endured for that long. If my D&D campaign club was a living person, they'd be old enough to vote. In all that time, those differences between people has never once caused any significant drama.

And in August of 2018, That changed.

It began as a normal D&D game. The only thing that was out of the ordinary was that a new player (but very old friend) was joining us. He's Tony from the Blood in the Badlands campaign vignette series. Also present at this game were players who had been in the campaign longer, like Steve and Sam.

Well, we were in the pre-game social phase, when the frozen pizzas are in the oven and people who haven't seen each other in a while have a chance to socialize a bit, catch up, etc. before the actual game session begins. At one point, a more or less tense exchange got going, form our more leftist members on how Christians are so very privileged in this country. This came from Penny, Steve's wife. When I asked her for an example of this suppsed Christian privilege, the best example she coudl come up with was that Christians get 2 holidays per year where they get the day off.

Yeah, that was really her argument. Apparently Easter and Christmas are proof positive that Christians are the privileged class. Well I don't know about you, but I've never gotten a day off for Easter since it falls on a Sunday anyway (I understand some people do, but that's not a very powerful argument.) And Christmas is as much a secular holiday as any other, oh and many pagan systems celebrate it too as Yule.

So I made this point to Penny, who started becoming agitated. She'd already snapped at Sam for having the nerve to say "punching up" isn't justified. ("Punching up" is the idea that a less socially advantaged group is free to be critical or mocking toward a more socially advanced group and that's fair game, but "punching down" is bad. This is a philosphy most often used by leftsis to get away with their own version of discrimination and bigotry.)

At about this time I left the room to go get the pizzas out of the oven, and took Sam with me to help. While we were gone, something happened.

When we came back with the pizzas, Tony and Penny were involved in a very heated exchange over the current social problems in Europe arising from the sudden influx of Syrian refugees. In a nutshell, Tony was talking about how these wsocial problems needed to be addressed and remedied, and Penny was calling him a racist for saying these social problems were a result of these refugees.

Now, I want to point out here two things. One, Tony is no racist. I've known the man for 30 years now and I can tell you with full honesty and confidence that there's no racism in him. Two, Tony is very direct in his way of speaking. He isn't rude or undiplomatic, he just doesn't sugar coat things. Penny, by contrast, lives in the leftist, SJW bubble that just doesn't get any other point of view. Her kneejerk reaction to Tony's comments was to immediately go to the racist card.

Things were getting very heated, very fast, and before I could referee them back to their corners, Penny decided she would no longer sit and listen to Tony's "racism" and packed her stuff to leave. Tony, who is also quite a reasonable fellow, started trying to calm her down. He was apologetic (not that he owed her an apolgy, im my opinion), gentle, and managed to get her to stop at the door. The bickering continued at that point, with Tony sitting at the table and Penny by the door. It was like watching that video of Jordan Peterson debating Cathy Newman... where Peterson would make a point, then Newman would reapons with "So you're saying that..." and then proceed to utterly misrepresent and twist the argument. This was just like that.

After a minute of this, Steve got involved, telling his wife to either go or stay, but that her bahavior was embarassing him in front of his friends. Shortly after this, she calmed enough to rejoin us at the table, and was perfectly pleasant for the rest of the session. (Don't let that fool you. She was putting on an act. As far as she's concerned, Tony is a vicious racist, period, an will not hear any defense of him. I tried.)

Now, after that session, I realized I had a very serious problem. Penny can be a very nice person, but her contempt for Christianity and conservatism in general has always been hidden, but she'd occasionally let it peek out. The Christians and conservatives in our group are well aware of this, but we've always just let it slide to avoid exactly the sort of meltdown that happened on this fateful evening. The problem is that Penny isn't the only one in our group who thinks that way, and those who see things from her point of view are a tight knit group of friends who also hang out when not in my D&D campaign.

That meant this fire was gonna spread.

At the time, I was runing two concurrent D&D groups, each of which was about half and half between left and right wing thinkers. My fear was that this incident was going to spill over into the other group. This was going to come up again for sure, especially because I really enjoyed having Tony in my group. He and I hadn't played D&D in many years. Funny thing is, he isn't even a conservative. He's very centrist.

So I followed up with an E-mail conversation with Penny. I was hoping she'd at least acknowledge that she'd gone too far.

Nope. She sees herself as the victim. She doesn't want me to try and defend my friend, she doesn't want to discuss anything in detail, and she doesn't want to come to D&D games anymore if it means she has to triple check her words before speaking. (Which I can't believe she said unironically. This whole mess happened because someone else didn't triple check is words in fornt of HER.) That E-mail chain ended amicably between her and me, but I don't feel much better.

So I scrambled the reactor, as it were, to avoid a meltdown. I discontinued both of my D&D games until I could come up with a way to deal with all of this.

AFter I let thigs cool off for a few weeks, I sent out feelers to see where people stood as I started building a plan for resuming the gaming. The conservative guys alre all for restarting. Just gotta let them know when. For the most part, the same is true of the liberal players. Steve and Penny however, have given me a list of conditions under which they'll play again. I can't put them in the same group as Tony or Kyle (another player they've decided they don't like.) I should censor certain topics of conversation, and apparently (and this wasn't explicitly on the list but I am inferring it from the E-mail chain) Penny's views aren't to be challenged (although maybe that falls under the censorship requirement.

I *HATE* the idea that politics has infected my gaming club like this. I always felt that even though we m ay disagree on things, we all saw each other as people who all wanted the best for everyone in our country, just didn't see eye to eye on how to achieve it. What I've learned is that is NOT how some folks in the group think. At best, people like Penny see us as deluded peolple who do evil in the name of our God and need to be defeated. Well, I guess I should be grateful that she doesn't think we're evil.

Or maybe I just don't care anymore.

So I've decided to resume D&D in January, but I'm only going to invite people I know will get along. That includes Tony and Kyle. Put me in a position to choose between firends? I'm gonna pick the guy who has been my frien since 1988, when we bonded over the contents of the 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook in gym class when I was but a high school freshman and he was a junior. There will *ALWAYS* be a seat at my table for Tony. And Kyle? He goes to my church. I've known him for *only* 20 years. I also have a couple other reasonable people in mind to invite.

As for the others... Well they're still friends and I don't want to just turn my back on them, but I don't trust Penny anymore, and they're closer friends with her than with me, for the most part, so I have no illusions about where they stand on this issue. They don't know the full truth about why I halted D&D. What I have been doing is talking to them about setting up a separate campaign which would meet quarterly, since runing two concurrent campaigns is more than I can handle right now. Thus far, feedback has been good, but I think it'll be a while before things feel normal again, if ever.

Has it really come to this?
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

User avatar
ccgr
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 17763
Joined: Tue May 24, 2005 7:00 pm
Are you human?: Yes!
Location: IL
Contact:

Re: Scrambling the Reactor: The Death of an almost 2 decade old D&D club.

Postby ccgr » Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:42 pm

That is really sad and I'm sorry it came to that. I'd resume without Penny if possible. As always, thanks for sharing and do keep us updated.

User avatar
ArcticFox
CCGR addict
Posts: 3485
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2007 7:00 pm
Are you human?: Yes!
Contact:

Re: Scrambling the Reactor: The Death of an almost 2 decade old D&D club.

Postby ArcticFox » Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:33 am

Steve and I are going to have dinner on Monday, at which point I plan to talk to him about these things. I no longer feel like I can have a productive conversation with Penny, but Steve is incredibly reasonable, laid back and easy to get along with. I'm hoping that if I can get him to see my point of view on this, that he can share it with Penny in a way that she can accept. At the same time, I trust Steve and he may very well give me some perspective and insight that will help me to understand their point of view better, if there's something I missed.

I. hate. drama.

Unless it's on a TV screen... and even then, this isn't the kind of drama I'd watch. This is Jerry Springer grade crap right here.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

User avatar
ccgr
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 17763
Joined: Tue May 24, 2005 7:00 pm
Are you human?: Yes!
Location: IL
Contact:

Re: Scrambling the Reactor: The Death of an almost 2 decade old D&D club.

Postby ccgr » Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:32 am

Let me know how it goes! Maybe your next game should be televised, pay per view?

User avatar
ArcticFox
CCGR addict
Posts: 3485
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2007 7:00 pm
Are you human?: Yes!
Contact:

Re: Scrambling the Reactor: The Death of an almost 2 decade old D&D club.

Postby ArcticFox » Tue Dec 11, 2018 10:39 am

Hah maybe.

Well I met last night with Steve and, as I expected, he was perfectly reasonable and cool to talk with. We see things differently, of course, because we each have our own biases, but that's fine. I got to elaborate on some things that I hadn't been clear enough in my E-mails with Penny, and he gave me some insight into her reactions.

I can't say that anything is resolved. They still won't play with Tony and the subsurface political tension between the others isn't going anywhere. So I feel slightly better about the situation, but it doesn't change any of the factors.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

User avatar
ccgr
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 17763
Joined: Tue May 24, 2005 7:00 pm
Are you human?: Yes!
Location: IL
Contact:

Re: Scrambling the Reactor: The Death of an almost 2 decade old D&D club.

Postby ccgr » Thu Dec 13, 2018 9:28 pm

Glad you're still on talking terms...the rest will have to be sorted later. You've done your part....

User avatar
ArcticFox
CCGR addict
Posts: 3485
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2007 7:00 pm
Are you human?: Yes!
Contact:

Re: Scrambling the Reactor: The Death of an almost 2 decade old D&D club.

Postby ArcticFox » Mon Dec 17, 2018 10:45 am

Penny and Steve came over and hung out with my wife and me on Friday night. It was fine. We chatted, watched movies, had dinner. So, in terms of friendships I guess everything is okay, as I figured it would be.

...except that it still doesn't remedy the D&D drama. Tony was over on Saturday and we talked for a while about stuff and we are going to go ahead with the new D&D campaign, but I'm only going to invite people who don't bring drama and can get along. So that means I build the new group around Tony.

The other groupmembers will be the other people who can act like adults. It also means the group will be mostly conservative, in terms of politics. (Tony is very centrist) but you know, I'm not at all worried about any more drama, even if there's another political discussion between Tony and one of the other players. These are people I've seen in political debates before and they're perfectly fine agreeing to disagree.

As for the rest... I'm probably going to do a separate campaign that will meet quarterly for longer sessions. I've spoken to a couple of those guys about it and they're open to the idea. That group will include Steve and Penny, as well as the other folks who have preferences against some of the people in the first group.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

User avatar
ArcticFox
CCGR addict
Posts: 3485
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2007 7:00 pm
Are you human?: Yes!
Contact:

Re: Scrambling the Reactor: The Death of an almost 2 decade old D&D club.

Postby ArcticFox » Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:17 pm

We had the first session of the newly revitalized gaming group on Friday night.

Reasonable people only. 'Reasonable' being defined as "not behaving like a 5th grader."

Tony was there, Kyle was there. I also had a player return after a VERY long (meaning 15 year) hiatus from D&D. (Though he was in the Blood in the Badlands Warhammer campaign. He's Jeff.) There was also by wife and another D&D player who's been with us for about 16 years. So we're mostly old timers playing D&D and not worrying at all about our political, religious, or cultural differences. We were there to play dome D&D, man!

And we did, Gandalf. We did. It was the best, most relaxed, most fun, most friendly session I've experienced in a very, very long time.

Now, for anyone reading this who's thinking "well yeah of course you all got along in your little political bubble! I bet you were all cishetmaleconservativewhitesupremacistracisthomophobes!" You can think that, but you'd be wrong. And maybe a little stupid. Our group in that session consists of 2 guys who are married to non-white women, a woman married to a non-white guy, a gay man who's single (because of his personal religious beliefs) 4 Mormons, one latino, 2 agnostics, 4 conservatives and 2 centrist liberals... all wrapped up in six happy people playing their favorite game.

We got along perfectly. PERFECTLY. No drama, no tension, no passive-aggressive bigoted remarks about anybody's religion or caucasian race. No whining about President Trump (even though we didn't all vote for him.) All are looking forward to the next session in 2 weeks.

D&D is fun again!
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

User avatar
ccgr
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 17763
Joined: Tue May 24, 2005 7:00 pm
Are you human?: Yes!
Location: IL
Contact:

Re: Scrambling the Reactor: The Death of an almost 2 decade old D&D club.

Postby ccgr » Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:03 pm

Glad you've found peace and fun again!

User avatar
ArcticFox
CCGR addict
Posts: 3485
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2007 7:00 pm
Are you human?: Yes!
Contact:

Re: Scrambling the Reactor: The Death of an almost 2 decade old D&D club.

Postby ArcticFox » Sat Jul 13, 2019 7:22 pm

We finished our first campaign (A Plague of Shadows) and have begin the next one, called Eclipse of the Gods. The group is still going strong. Precisely zero drama, no tension, all is well and great and at last I feel like I'm playing D&D the way we played it back in High School. (1st Edition, for the curious. So we're old. Meh.)

As for those in the other group... I've let them know I won't be running D&D for them anytime soon. I haven't heard form Penny at all and I don't expect I ever will. That's fine. Now that I know her true nature I'm not losing any sleep over that. The others and I are still friends, and they have their own D&D group now so everybody is fine.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

User avatar
Sstavix
CCGR addict
Posts: 2972
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:47 am
Are you human?: Yes!
Location: Eastern Washington. Not the crazy side.

Re: Scrambling the Reactor: The Death of an almost 2 decade old D&D club.

Postby Sstavix » Sat Jul 20, 2019 5:15 pm

I'm not sure how I missed this thread when you first posted it. That's great to hear, man!

I've come to a similar conclusion after the last campaign I ran. If I fire up another one (outside my family, that is), it'll be just with people with a similar political mindset. That way we don't end up disrupting the campaign - as well as friendships - over political squabbles.

Game on!

User avatar
ArcticFox
CCGR addict
Posts: 3485
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2007 7:00 pm
Are you human?: Yes!
Contact:

Re: Scrambling the Reactor: The Death of an almost 2 decade old D&D club.

Postby ArcticFox » Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:39 pm

I'm not sure how I missed this thread when you first posted it. That's great to hear, man!

I've come to a similar conclusion after the last campaign I ran. If I fire up another one (outside my family, that is), it'll be just with people with a similar political mindset. That way we don't end up disrupting the campaign - as well as friendships - over political squabbles.

Game on!
And you know, it's really a shame that peoples' politics now have to factor into it. They really shouldn't.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

User avatar
J.K. Riki
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 349
Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:34 pm

Re: Scrambling the Reactor: The Death of an almost 2 decade old D&D club.

Postby J.K. Riki » Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:30 am

Hard stuff, to be sure. Glad to hear at least some of the DnD sessions are back on!

We didn't really have a direct meltdown like this, but it's interesting because the friends from high school I used to play DnD with did basically drift apart because of similar things. One of them became staunchly anti-theism, to the point where I just didn't want to be around them anymore. We talked less and less until now we maybe say hello once every few years, if that. It's a shame to see friendships die, but when someone is bitter and angry about your core beliefs that is a hard thing to stay around.

I will say that the current group of friends I have and play games with (Pathfinder Adventure Card game these days, rather than full on DnD) are all deep Christians and it is wonderful. There is nothing quite like Christian fellowship. We don't even all agree on all topics, but each of us respects one another and any disagreements always end in forgiveness and grace. Christianity really does change life when put into practice by its members. :)

User avatar
ArcticFox
CCGR addict
Posts: 3485
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2007 7:00 pm
Are you human?: Yes!
Contact:

Re: Scrambling the Reactor: The Death of an almost 2 decade old D&D club.

Postby ArcticFox » Sat Sep 21, 2019 7:46 pm

Well, since I started this story here, I guess I'm committed to sharing developments.

A couple of weeks ago, Penny's husband Steve contacted me to apologize for the long silence and that they love us (my wife and me) and want to hang out again. Keep in mind that there has been *zero* contact between me and Penny since the short series of E-mails last year in the aftermath of the meltdown.

This led to a conversation in which I pointed out that there were two sides to all this, and that I didn't feel like my concerns had been dealt with. Essentially Penny's position boils down to this:
  • They don't want to encounter Tony at any time, ever.
  • We aren't to talk about politics.
  • Penny doesn't want to discuss this incident or any of the issues I have.
Evidently this is the list of conditions I am to agree to so that we can put this behind us and move on.

Erm. No. That isn't how friendships work.

First of all, I'm supposed to guarantee they'll never see Tony? So I guess that means if we ever have events like Nerdfest again, or if I throw a gaming party, or so a backyard barbecue, I have to choose whether to invite Tony or Penny, not both.

Second, not being able to talk about politics? Well, that's at least a mildly reasonable request, since some people just can't handle that sort of discussion and there's a modicum of honesty here that Penny is such a person.

But my side of the story isn't going to be discussed? So I don't get to even hope for an apology from Penny for:
  • Routinely trashing Christianity right here in my home, while her beliefs (Progressivism) are to be held sacrosanct.
  • Bashing and demonizing one of my very best friends, who is a far better person that she's ever been
  • Ruining that gaming group
  • Melting down and making everybody uncomfortable, instead of being an adult.
  • Putting me in a position to choose between them and Tony
Nope. We proceed as if she did nothing at all wrong and we pretend that it's perfectly reasonable to put me in a position to have to choose between friends. Tony would be perfectly fine around Penny, even though it would be perfectly understandable if he weren't. It's Penny that radiates all the drama. She's the one who wants me to have to choose.

Well, that's not how friendships work. Friends care when they've hurt each other and they make an effort to make amends, or at least try to understand each other. They don't ignore the pain they cause because they're either too proud or too selfish to admit they wronged a friend.

No, Penny. You haven't been a friend to me and what you want isn't friendship.

Get bent.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens


Return to “Table Top RPGs”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests