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Breaking the Narrative Episode 41: Feminists Tell Noobs How to Get Into Dungeons and Dragons!

Alex Tinsley
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Alex Tinsley

A student of Fine Arts and Japanese culture of six years at Murray State University. Having never graduated due to difficulties with a specific teacher has gained a unique perspective upon the issues being faced by men and boys. A father of a young boy and loving husband.
Alex Tinsley
Follow me at

To keep with the gaming attitude I’m going for something just left of where we’ve been aimed at for the past two weeks. We are going into an article based around Dungeons and Dragons as you’ve obviously seen from the title, but where is the context? This is an article coming out of Kotaku by Cecilia D’Anastasio. If you’ve been reading my articles for a while you will remember when I deconstructed her article on the sports parody anime Keijo!!!!!!!!!  At this point we understand that she is an imbecile when it comes to anime, but now she wants to tackle classic tabletop gaming. Granted, I haven’t played anything table top since my son was born  in 2014 but I still have enough memories and experience that I can take apart whatever bullshit flies our way. So pop out your d20s, d1os, and character sheets; leave the Warhammer miniatures but consider a bad British accent to mess with our favorite Doctor and Let’s Hammer This In!

DONTLEWDTHEDRAGONS1Ok, from this we learn that this isn’t the first time she has approached D&D, kind of scary to be sure, but factually she isn’t really wrong here, though I would find her definition of ‘nerds’ to be debatable considering how I’ve seen her treat other fandoms. At the same time, she is woefully underplaying certain factors: Which edition ruleset are you wanting to play under? What expansions are you adding into the mix? Do you want to play as DM or do you want to play as part of the party? Also, from my experience the best way to introduce new people to tabletop is to find at least one friend who also has some experience. That way you don’t jump in completely blind. Also it helps to decide what difficulty of campaign you want to work with. Granted, you don’t want to be too difficult with it but some people still want something a little tougher than say a group of bandits or kobolds for their first time out. Also, one shouldn’t restrict themselves to just one brand of tabletop game. I’m thinking that this may be a sponsored deal with Wizards of the Coast (current owners of the Dungeons & Dragons brand.)
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This makes sense because paying for such pieces is a common practice of Wizard’s parent company Hasbro. Hasbro is very aggressive when it comes to advertising their brands. Chances are, if you’ve played a board game in the past thirty years you probably haven’t played a Parker Brothers or Milton Bradley branded game…but a Hasbro product. Hasbro is also neck deep in social justice advertising campaigns in the moment. My evidence of this is the classic game of Clue (known in Britain as Cluedo).  This year they replaced the traditional housekeeper character of Mrs. White with a new Asian female character of Dr. Orchid. Many don’t know this but whenever Hasbro does something like this with one of their franchises they always half-ass it. This is why you don’t see Miss Scarlet being made Hispanic or Mr. Green being made black, though I wouldn’t be surprised if they did that in the near future. Makes me glad I got the classic edition 4 years ago.

Lets get back to the game in question though, I think we are going to find something very specific in tow with this bit of probably-sponsored content.

DONTLEWDTHEDRAGONS2How quaint, a feminist suggesting their audience take responsibility. I’m sure that is gonna go well! Of course she finishes this up with saying “Hey, if you don’t really want to DM just suck at it to get one of your other friends to take the responsibility from you so you can just have fun and be lazy!” I don’t know about you but I hate  having to deal with a lazy roleplayer. They tend to be whiny as fuck when things don’t go their way. So if you have someone like this in your group just go twice as rough on them to get them out of the group. No one will blame you for that one, honestly the might thank you for it.

DONTLEWDTHEDRAGONS3Here is what makes this appear to be a sponsored content piece. That, and she also links to gizmodo directly so collusion strikes again. Add to the fact that no direct ads are on the page, and that pins it. The rest of this section is delving into bitching about ‘gatekeeping’ with a cheap story while backhandedly suggesting supporting local hobby shops. You definitely should support your local hobby shops, I’m looking towards starting one myself some day in the near future, to be frank. She even plugs a DM Guide as an optional buy. If you have no idea what you are doing you definitely need one if only to have quick references, but many are just as easily solved by a free third party app. Some friends and I prefer roll20.

I’ll just save you the whinging about geeks that don’t trust obvious feminist noobs because they are obvious feminist noobs. Geeks are getting sick and tired of the co-opting. Dunces in the comment section actually suggested that the shopkeeps were hitting on the bitch but I highly doubt it, moving on.

DONTLEWDTHEDRAGONS4Ok, language jokes? ほんとうに?This was not only unnecessary but idiotic, and I’m not just saying that because I can’t learn Spanish worth shit but am pretty good with Japanese. A better description of the situation would be as follows – If you have played other tabletop RPGs (then why are you having trouble with D&D rules?) it’s like the differences between five card draw and Texas Hold’em. That would be a much better and closer analogy in my experience. Also suggesting drunken tabletop, while potentially hilarious, is not a pleasant idea in my humble opinion. Then again I have learned to expect substance abuse from a lot of this crowd. Sure I enjoy the occasional bourbon or sake but I never enjoyed getting blackout drunk. It’s just not my cup of tea, or in this case, whiskey, especially if tequila gets involved. I’ve never heard a story start with tequila end well. If you have one however, I am sure all of us would enjoy reading it in the comments below.

DONTLEWDTHEDRAGONS5Now there it is! “The best people to play D&D with are not necessarily gamers.” What a surprise to see more more of that ‘Gamers are Dead’ narrative leaking through. Kotaku has been pushing this ‘gaming is no longer for gamers’ narrative for up to three years now and still doubles down on it, not caring that its a losing argument. Also, suggesting that gamers aren’t empathetic or creative? Categorical bullshit! The most empathetic and creative minds I’ve known and many of you probably know are all gamers… also the most easygoing a and accommodating. The tabletop group I’m about to start a game with has a pagan (me), a couple of protestant Christians and a Catholic. If a Pagan and a Catholic can get along together enough to start playing a tabletop game together, then the idea that gamers can’t get along regardless is dead in the water and is likely a bloated carcass. Don’t drink the water there, it will kill you.

DONTLEWDTHEDRAGONS6
More talking about getting drunk… something tells me this woman hasn’t met a bottle she doesn’t like enough to deepthroat it. I will agree, though, about the misconceptions about the game, its worth, and the predictability level along with the social storytelling aspects. What I’ll dispute is the interactivity level (some vidya is pretty in depth with that aspect) and how much you can do in-game. I don’t think anyone will accept it delving into a hentai doujinshi level of sexual interactions, for example. Also, worshipping Satan? This isn’t the 1980’s for cock’s sake! Why that links to a hardwood DM/GM screen Kickstarter ad and not an old article about accusing tabletop gamers of devil worship I can only guess (MORE SHILLINGS!) I keep saying all these feminists really want is some good mahogany furniture and dildos, so that’s why they call misogyny.

The rest ends up talking about timing a get together which is difficult in our day and age (honestly I suggest getting close friends and family involved,) getting snacks (if you have problems with this at this point in life there is no helping you,) and setting the tone, while suggesting its her favorite free time activity. I guess her tabletop crew is her safe space even though apparently her tabletop mates are in other parts of the country. This goes to that coordination thing again. So I’m not going to picture anything further here.

Now that we’ve gotten through that its my guess that this woman has been kicked out of her fair share of tabletop groups for being a shit role-player and that’s why she wrote this article. If there was a sponsorship from Hasbro that was just a perk. Notice there is no disclosure, just the linking and the way she talked about it while not suggesting any other decent tabletop system like White Wolf, Warhammer, or other d20 based systems. She could have come from this angle and broadened the interest in potential custom systems, to boot. I’ve actually helped friends develop their own systems and worlds and back in the day tried to make a Mega Man X system based on the Palladium system, though with how Palladium works it works better for Gundam overall.

How would I go about starting a tabletop game or group though? Well of course get a group of friends together at first then decide what type of setting you’d love to play. Do you want high fantasy or science fiction? Medieval or modern day? Next I would suggest colored graph paper and a big piece of matting board over a whiteboard any day of the week, if only because its easier to quick build dungeons and towns using colored graph paper on the board and preserve it for future adventures. Plus, its cheap and easy to keep to expand the world you are looking to play in. As an addition I would get a large portfolio tote and some tabs to add for filing purposes. That way you don’t have to deconstruct your dungeons and the like if you want to re-use them later and re work them for different scenarios. If you don’t want to go for traditional expensive miniatures I would also suggest making print out avatars for everyone’s characters. That makes it easier to get stuff easily held together with say sticky tack and file away the adventure for next week when you run out of time. You have a good bookmark of the action. Next, I would have someone who isn’t perhaps so keen on being a player, say a not as play loving significant other or friend who wants to hang out but not play type up on a computer the record of the game, because you are going to have your hands full running the show, and you need someone keeping track.  This is because as the DM you have to represent all the NPCs, any character you play alongside your crew (be willing to kill them off for believability and fairness to your party) and describe and play all challenges that come your way.

These things are another reason I suggest roll20, because it will help you keep records and you can long distance play easy enough with a computer controlled set of dice. That being said, my family has a huge bag of different gaming dice, and we even plan to have weekly family sessions once my son is old enough to enjoy such things. To have it out there, none of the companies or sites mentioned in this article have any connection to Honey Badger Brigade or myself. This information all comes from personal research and experience. That being said I want everyone to also put down their fun tabletop stories in the comments below, I’ll provide a fun story of mine soon as well so we can all enjoy hearing the crazy situations we’ve put fictional characters through for shits and giggles. Next week I think I’ll debunk another AnimeFeminist article. Which one I’ll be taking my sweet time deciding. I’m hoping to catch right up to something recent.

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Alex Tinsley

A student of Fine Arts and Japanese culture of six years at Murray State University. Having never graduated due to difficulties with a specific teacher has gained a unique perspective upon the issues being faced by men and boys. A father of a young boy and loving husband.

  • https://twitter.com/mochidere mochi

    D&D has been something that i had interest on but never actually played due to most of my friends not having time to play table top games, but the people i asked around about are kind enough to explain about the game. heck is silly to try talk about ‘gatekeeping’ or ‘my soggy knees’ when most people recently have been getting into D&D due to the popularity of Critical Role and other similar groups that anyone can find on twitch or youtube, by the way since most of the popular ones are can be found on twitch it wouldn’t be surprising that most people get drawn into role playing by watching streams are ‘dem evil gamers’ and oh boy how those people are so horrible! i bet there has been many cases in real life of how a girl got into a game shop and be forced to show her gamer card to prove she should be there, after all nerds are very well known about how their dislike of more people getting into their hobbies!!!111!
    i must say this must be my favorite feminist shill article after the one about Horizon Zero Dawn that had ads about make up, after all feminism is all about aceptation of one flaws and self loving…. oh wait

    • Anime-Mun

      “self-loving” LoL.

  • gush

    It’s not that I agree that gamers don’t make good RPG players, but the dialog skipping or FPS players tend to be murder hobbos, which is annoying as fuck.
    And the dialog skipping RPG players tend to be min-maxers who kill themselves with stupidest choices.

    Also, one shouldn’t ever start playing with friends that don’t play already, it’s better to make friends while playing that playing with friends. And one shouldn’t start with DMing unless it’s not a choice. Gosh, start online before one starts DMing.

    Also, it’s not weird to see a feminist woman confusing role-playing-game with the role-playing kink, they might sound alike but it’s two completely in-congruent activities.
    RPG is good with at least 4 people at the table (counting the DM), while in sexting 3 is a crowd, so it’s wise to keep sex out of the table completely. And flirtation is only useful as a narrative tool and should be kept as short as possible to avoid one or two players monopolizing the GM. Sexual activities demand extended individualized attention, which is toxic for RPG.

    Also even though the 5th is sorta easy to handle, it’s a shitty way to start role playing. Ideally it’s something even simpler for a noobie.

    • Anime-Mun

      I agree that some gamers can be a little boring when it comes to tabletop unless they understand to not approach a tabletop system differently from a video game system (a lot of my RP friends comprehend this innately). Also I never said you shouldn’t ever start playing with those who don’t already play. At the same time I wouldn’t want to push someone who simply isn’t interested into it as it is rather intensive of a set up. As for starting with a huge group that doesn’t already know a system I did that once…. ONCE, never again. That was a disaster.

      As for introducing people to RPGs I agree 5th isn’t exactly the best way to play unless you really don’t have a huge amount of time (Which if you never have free time what are you doing trying to get into tabletop?). Personally I’ve had better luck introducing through BESM d20 and the aformentioned Palladium systems. White Wolf’s systems are also pretty easy to keep up with and lend well to LARPing for those interested in that. I had a few friends try to turn Vampire: The Masquerade into a LARP set up. The system worked out well with the set up however watching it I couldn’t help but cringe at the terrible acting they were doing. Then most of us at the place decided to bail when it was obvious that two of them were going to bring sex into the picture. Now that I think about it, the girl involved may have been using it as an excuse as the guy was pretty dense.

      I’ve seen some crazy shit.