Thursday, 18 August 2016

It's Just a Game (Not)

While browsing my Facebook feed this morning I came across a disturbing post in one of my Dungeons and Dragons forums.

"I was playing my character who was a female Mystic Gnome.  I was talking to my Dungeon Master about the different homebrew characters in the party, that included an Incubus Rogue, a Succubus Rogue, some other race I haven't heard of, and a werewolf.  Well the group decided to rape my character.  When I tried to contest them the DM didn't allow me to because of how many were against me. ... The guy who was playing the Incubus, his stats were 18 Str, 20 Dex, 20 Con, 18 Int, 18 Wis, 18 Cha at Level 4. ... After this I left, and they got mad at me for complaining, saying it was just a game.  This is a fairly new group who are looking for new members."

I nearly choked when I read this.

I have been into role-playing games, and Dungeons and Dragons in particular, for over 30 years.  NEVER have I come across a scenario as horrible as this.  Any sexual situations that came into the games were handled with "fade to black" or "you go into another room".  Not to mention, NO character can possibly have stats like that at Level 4 without some form of cheating having taken place.

In a later comment, the same writer mentioned that he appeared to be having very bad luck at finding a good gaming group.  Almost every group he tried to play with messed with his character in some form or other; from being left in the middle of nowhere to being attacked and having his possessions stolen by the other players.

Groups like this are toxic in the extreme.  They are using the excuse of "it's just a game" to act out malicious adolescent fantasies that have no place at a game table.

Participating in such games isn't simply role-playing, it can be a reflection of who you are.  When you create a character for a role-playing game it often shows some aspect of your own personality that normally wouldn't be seen on a day-to-day basis.  So to have your character do heinous acts in-game is a strong indicator of the kind of darkness that lurks in the back of your mind.  (Unless it's a very rare game in which all the characters are evil, which is another matter entirely.)

The advice that the writer received from the other members of the forum was unanimous: leave that group and advertise their sickness so that nobody else would join them.  No serious gamer should tolerate that kind of behaviour.  Unfortunately the writer lives in a small town and finding a good group nearby has become an impossibility.  This latest experience has seriously affected his enjoyment of the game.

It's little wonder why so many people believe role-playing games are evil.  Only it's not the game itself that's evil: sometimes it's the people who play it.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Dogs Amok

One of my Facebook acquaintances takes great pleasure in posting about what mischief her two dogs get into.  Generally there's nothing wrong with that, but there have been some incidents that she has described that had me shaking my head at how ill trained the dogs really are.

This person is a hard-working woman; she works two jobs, sometimes 12-hour shifts at a time.  She volunteers at a local animal shelter and has fostered many cats and dogs in her home.  I've nothing against her personally, other than she doesn't seem to have adequate time or energy to devote to two high-strung dogs that constantly upend her life.

They have destroyed two of her couches.  They routinely get into the household garbage at night and strew it all over the place.  This morning she woke up to find her bed full of dog kibble because one of the dogs brought his dish into the bed.  It's clear there's no alpha in this pack and the dogs know this, which is why they behave the way they do.

No matter how much one loves one's dog there should be a line drawn, and I commented as much.

Since everyone else was laughing and saying cute things about the dogs, I was decried as a spoil-sport for my suggestion that the woman invest in obedience classes for the dogs before they destroyed her house.

Her response: "Why is there always one person that can't keep it light and fun?  My life is a comedy in every aspect of it.  Most of it comes from my [dogs]."

"It's plain to see how much you love your brood.  How can you get mad at them when you love them so much?  You just can't. ... All that matters is all the laughter and fun you share with your pet family," was another comment.

I'm sorry, but sometimes love isn't enough.  My family once had a dog that unfortunately developed a chewing habit and resisted all attempts at breaking him of it; neither training nor attention worked.  One day he somehow got into a drawer and chewed an expensive piece of electronics.  My father was livid, and the dog was taken to a shelter the following day.  Some people might think that cruel, but the alternative was to be constantly having to ensure that anything smaller than a pillow was locked up or out of the dog's reach.  That's no way to live.

So call me a spoil-sport, tell me I have a sour personality, or that my opinion on this subject isn't worth listening to.  I stand by what I said.  I love animals but they must be properly trained to behave.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

The Spectre of War

With most of the U.S. distracted by the Republican and Democratic conventions last week, it's little wonder that much news out of Asia didn't make it to the mainstream media.  I've been reading articles from various sources that state recent U.S. sanctions against North Korea for their human rights abuses have been met with fury and an outright declaration of war.

Han Song Ryo, North Korea's top diplomat of U.S. affairs, is quoted as saying: "The United States has crossed the red line in our showdown.  We regard this thrice-cursed crime as a declaration of war."  North Korea's government also claims that upcoming U.S. and South Korean joint military exercises include training to assassinate top North Korean leaders.

Even more frightening is a statement from the North Korean Atomic Energy Institute: "If the U.S. and other hostile forces persistently seek their reckless hostile policy towards the DPRK and behave mischievously, the DPRK is fully ready to cope with them with nuclear weapons any time."

U.S. crossed 'red line'
North Korea Fires Another Missile

We know that the North Korean leader has been looking for an excuse for war for a long time.  We know that the country has missiles with the capability of hitting U.S. soil.  We also know that China has been simmering with resentment as well and it won't take much for that country to become hostile.

So what is going to be done to defuse this situation?  Is anyone even paying attention?

My grandfather served in both World War I and World War II.  I'm sure he would have been very sad to know that the world can't truly be peaceful for long.