Pitfalls of RP: Garbage Humans


Holy shit, dogg. Why would this even need to be a post? Isn’t it a given that no one would waste their time RPing with sexists, racists, homophobes, transphobes, and so on? Fuck those guys. Don’t play with them. As others have said, tabletop gaming has a white male terrorism problem, and it’s every tabletop gamer’s responsibility to make sure that shit does not go unchecked.

But then, sometimes they are the only people you can easily find to play with. Getting into a game can be exhausting and difficult. Many forum-based games are poorly attended, flat-out ghost towns, or anarchic to the point of being plotless and pointless. More tightly controlled games can be exclusive, which I understand. As a GM I have trouble wrangling more than about five people.

In all aspects of life there’s a tradeoff between loneliness and dealing with people’s shit. With any luck, the worst you encounter is a manageable amount of microaggressions. We all have to make those judgments for ourselves, and often mental illness gets in the way. Some have suffered gaslighting and other forms of manipulation designed to make it difficult for them to recognize abuse. People with bad self esteem can put up with way worse than they should, and it’s up to kind bystanders to protect them from those who would take advantage – circumstances and consent allowing.

Meanwhile, here are some examples of what not to put up with, culled from the experiences of an AFAB person I know, gaming with a bunch of bland middle-of-the-road dudebros, who included the GM.

  • In game, other PCs said their male character “sounds gay.”
  • Regardless of the gender of their character or their Charisma points,
    always expected to be the “face,” performing social duties for the group.
  • “Conveniently” excluded from combat scenes.
  • Gender policing their male characters as “unrealistic.”
  • Being asked if their character was “hot,” consulting
    their CHA score and saying nevermind.
  • Other players saying they should be able to force their female character to get with their male character if they make a Charisma roll, the GM agreeing. Essentially, CHA points as virtual roofies & GM approved sexual harassment of the player.

Some of the garbage humans in that scenario might even regard themselves as liberal on many issues, but their gender essentialism and othering of those they perceived as the “opposite” gender gave them license to act like utter trash. “Hey, can’t ya take a joke?” Eat shit, dudes.

Take care of yourselves. Beware of garbage humans. They don’t deserve any part of you, your time, or your presence.

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