Rants and Raves

“Honey, Let the Real Gamers Play”

‘Shh. Breathe.’

I exhaled a breath of stale air into the crowded lobby of the local hotel. My partner sensed my hesitation beside me and squeezed my hand encouragingly. With a small tug, he urged me onwards. “Let’s go, I don’t want to be around these neckbeards any longer than I have to,” he teased. I know, not a very kind way to refer to a wonderful community of tabletop gamers, especially when his partner is one of them, but I knew he was just trying to ease my nerves.

Walking into the entrance, I was immediately greeted by an older woman at the entrance booth. My partner paid our entrance fees, we got small, golden tokens that we could use to preregister for one game each.

Ignoring the hair standing on the back of my neck, the fear creeping up my arms, the imaginary breath and whispers of a strange man in my ear, I crept over to the table with lists of the games being run we could preregister for. After scanning the papers, I immediately noted my LGS Head DM’s name. I immediately pre-registered for it, not releasing upon seeing his name that I released my death grip on my partner’s hand. He was thankful for it though he was looking incredibly uncomfortable already by the thriving social environment.

“Is there – is there any Pathfinder’s Society games running right now?” I asked, not realising how much my voice would tremble when I spoke.

The man I was handing my preregistered token over to nodded, “Just about to start now, there’s spots left in Table 7,” he explained. I hurried over there, my partner following, and as soon as I laid eyes on the all-male table, I felt relieved. I recognised one face, a man from the LGS, and he immediately invited me to sit beside him.

“Are you okay?” my partner whispered in my ear.

“Eh, yeah, yeah, I think I’m good. Thank you. I think I can do it,” I assured him and myself simultaneously then gave him a fleeting kiss.

With hesitation – despite his dislike for crowds – he left me to the devices of my first convention in six years. Six years – had it really been so long?

The game the table was running was Tier 2. I only had a level three rogue/wizard multiclass (hoping to prestige by sixth or seventh level). That’s okay, the GM tossed me a stack of pre-generated higher leveled characters to choose from. After rifling through, I decided on the gunslinger. Not a class I often favoured.

We all settled in, I took out my dice box and rolled a few before deciding which set I would be using for the session. We were ready to play.

The session started off as most do for Pathfinder’s Society. The Society is enlisting your assistance for some sort of task central to a city or port area. (Side Note: one of the many reasons I prefer Adventurer’s League to Pathfinder’s Society is the content. I’ve never been a fan of the PS content, it all seems too drab and repetitive).

One of the older men, mid-to-late 40s, at the table introduced his character. Freya. His description of her left little to the imagination, “She’s tall, slim, with incredibly voluptuous curves. Her breasts are almost fully seen underneath her clothes – she isn’t wearing much more than a thin robe, hardly tied on. Her legs are really long and she is barefoot, as many in the courting profession are, and she’s wearing red lipstick and her long hair runs down her large cleavage.” I was a tad taken back, though not surprised, at how focused the description was around her breasts.

Either way, we continued our character introductions and the session moved onwards. It wasn’t until we were in the depths of the sewer and actually adventuring that the descriptions of Freya began to get old…fast. “Freya is going to jog ahead to scope out the next corner. As she runs towards it, her tits bounce sloppily, almost flopping out of her robe.” Was that…was that really necessary? I shrugged it off. If this was truly the visual he wanted to conceive as a player, it didn’t quite bother me, just unnerved me a bit with the terminology.

We reached a point where my Gunslinger passed a search check nobody else did. I had found a letter. My character was quiet, stoic, and kept to herself – she likely would only divulge the necessary information. When the GM took the letter out, he handed it to the man playing Freya instead of myself. Okay…that’s fine, not a big deal, as long as I get to read it in the end (being partially deaf at a convention, I truly needed to read it with my own eyes to understand all of it).

That didn’t quite happen. Freya’s player read it, passed it along to the older man beside him, and then the note went no further. “Oh, so we need to find the South Gate?” Freya inquired.

The player beside him responded, “Seems like it,” and handed the note back to the GM.

“May I see the note?” I asked.

Without hesitation, the player playing Freya responded, “No need, we know what it meant, sweetie,” he said with a smile.

Ugh. Sweetie. There it was. Subtle, harmless, yes? Not quite. If you can’t see this as undermining my ability as a player, then you’re not looking at it right.

I let it go and continued on with the game. Not much further in, we were in combat. I was mid-initiative order. I wanted to spend a grit point to use Pistol-Whip. I stated this, was about to roll as I recorded that I had spent the grit point, to which the player beside Freya – let’s call him George – said, “Honey, why don’t you just attack normally? It’s far less confusing than using all of that extra special stuff.”

“No, I think I’m good. Nobody is bloodied yet, I’d like to use what I can. Try this deed out, as well, since I’ve never used it,” I was literally about to roll, my dice about to hit the table, when the GM put up his hand.

“We don’t want to have to explain it to you,” he said sternly, rolled a d20 in plain view, and said “She attacks and misses. Freya, it’s your turn.”

I was furious. Absolutely furious. I swear my ears must have been steaming. But I let it go. Because, as I looked around the room, it was men for as far as the eye could see. Not just men, but primarily older men. What was I supposed to do? Stand my 90lb self up at a table surrounded by older, condescending men and tell them to piss off and stop being so sexist?

Like a punch to the chest, I began to feel winded. That breath in my ear came back, that whisper at my neck, those large, rough hands twisting my wrists…I shuddered and quickly grabbed my phone. I needed a safety net to calm down. Texting my partner with ferocious speed – Freya’s turn had still barely begun – I told him I was angry.

“Hey, Mysty, do you want a timbit?” the player beside me that I knew from the LGS distracted me from the texts with a whisper. I don’t know if he could tell how furious and scared I was or if it was just a coincidence, but his simple kindness of sharing a treat helped soothe me enough to continue with the game.

My turn came around…and went just as fast as the last one. I wasn’t even given a moment to state what I was going to do. Instead, the GM stated it for me, simply asked me to roll “before I roll for you,” as he threatened. I was fuming. But I said nothing. Because I was frozen. I did as I was told to do and continued to roll to hit and rolled my damage.

Out of sheer annoyance and boredom, I began to time our turns. Mine was on average below ten seconds per turn. Even before the GM began dictating what I was supposed to do with my turn (according to him) it was less than half a minute – I’ve always ensured to have quick turns and be ready before my order in the initiative came about. Freya’s player’s turn was on average three minutes per turn. Three minutes! He would always include in-depth descriptions of what his character was doing, too, which don’t get me wrong I love and enjoy a lot as a player and a DM, but not when 99% of it is centered around her breasts.

The entirety of this game continued on like this, myself barely hanging on for dear life on the edge of a full-blown panic attack. Each second felt like an hour and each voice sounded like him and each drop of the die felt like my body bruising beneath his grasp. That controlling grasp that resembled the one the GM had over me for the duration of this game.

We were at the end now, I finally spoke up for the first time in two hours, and said, “I’d like to Inve-” the GM quickly threw his hand up directly in front of my face.

“Let the real gamers play,” he simply muttered. The men around the table chuckled, and yet none of them would make eye contact with me.

The game was over, at last, and I had never stood up faster in my life. I quickly ran into the hotel bathroom nearby and into a stall, down on the floor, my knees pulled up towards my chest. My breath was coming in rigid, short gasps. Thankfully with the convention at the hotel this weekend, the female washroom was essentially empty so I had time to collect myself.

Then came the immediate blaming. Maybe they didn’t like my voice? Maybe they didn’t like the Gunslinger class? Was it a bad choice for a pre-gen? Was it what I wore? It had to be what I wore. Perhaps because I appeared much younger than I was and therefore they assumed I was inexperienced?

With all the strength and bravery I could muster, I returned to the convention room. I sought out the GM who was setting up for his next session. “Hey, I was just at your table and I wanted to let you know…I’ve been playing 3.5 for thirteen years now, and running it, too. I really enjoy tabletop RPGs. You seem like a decent GM, so I was wondering if I could join you at your next table and be allowed a bit more input into my character’s actions?”

Without even looking up at me, without the slight acknowledgment of a glance, he quickly blew me off. “No, table’s full.”

I sighed, went over to the registration desk. Thankfully, no tables were full yet for the next games, not even his. I took his name down, wanting to file a complaint with the Pathfinder’s Society as this was official play. As soon as I looked him up, however, I found out he was the Lieutenant of Pathfinder’s Society in our area. So my report would go straight to him.


Giving up, I distracted myself with browsing the stalls. My LGS had the largest stall there and it was soon to open. When it did, the owner immediately greeted me. “Hey, Mysty, roll a d20 to see if you win a free dice set?” he challenged with a smile.

It was okay. It slowly turned back into a normal convention. I skipped the next game, though, to shop around the stalls and grab a bite to eat. I even won a free book! Things were looking up and I was able to let go of my insecurities and fears a bit more.

Then came my evening game with my LGS’s Head DM, Geoff. I was super excited for it, especially since he was running Tomb of Annihilation! I hadn’t gotten the chance to play yet and I had this fantastic Tabaxi Monk character all prepped who was incredibly neurotic!

When I sat at the table, I felt immediately relaxed. Geoff was a great DM, and he was so inclusive. Nobody ever felt left out during his games – which were all run with brilliant theatre of the mind. Once the table was full, it was with all players from my Tuesday night’s Adventurer’s League friends, except for one, who was another male. Once again, I sat at a fully male table but this time – I was actually able to play! I could make my own decisions, we laughed, we created fantastic memories, and just everything about the game was fantastic!

This. This is what playing at conventions was supposed to feel like.

After that weekend, I returned to my LGS games I played weekly. Adventurer’s League on Tuesday evenings and Pathfinder’s Society on Wednesday’s. But when I returned to Pathfinder, I looked around at the primarily male players and began to feel uncomfortable. Especially when the man who kindly offered his timbit was there. His face – to no fault of his own – immediately reminded me of what had happened at the convention. Which then reminded me of the past. I began to sweat, wring my hands together, and feel altogether afraid and uncomfortable.

Despite having a kind, good GM for the Pathfinder’s Society play at the LGS, the experience itself was tainted for me and difficult to swallow, I guess. Even though he made me feel welcome, we hit it off as good acquaintances weeks ago, I could not find it in me to enjoy the game anymore as much as was worth four hours of my Wednesday evenings. So I retired from Pathfinder’s Society entirely and focused my attention on the amazing group of individuals that partook in Adventurer’s League every week.

The Head DM at my LGS as well as many of the other players I’ve come to be friends with have made me feel so much more comfortable with official play over the past few months that I will now be running a game at the next convention – the exact same convention I felt run out of. But I know when that same fear creeps up over me, threatening to take hold of my sensibilities, I can look out across the convention floor and catch a glimpse of some of the most supportive and inclusive individuals I have ever met in the amazing community of tabletop gaming and I can feel at ease.

So to them, I say thank you. Thank you a million times for giving me the confidence to publicly enjoy a large part of my life again after many years of living in fear to do so.

And to those I don’t know…

Please take a moment to realise that when things like this happen, the person it is being directed at may be too frozen, too afraid, or in too much shock to respond to it. To stop it. If you are able to stand up and say something – please do so. It will always be greatly appreciated.

During a discussion on this topic on Twitter back in October of 2017, a user expressed that “maybe he only wanted men at his table because men are generally better at RPGs”. This was something a young male in 2017 said to me to defend this GM’s actions.

Growing up, I was a huge nerd. Always have been. So I, like you, was quickly rejected from societies norms and standards. We weren’t allowed to be seen with the “popular” kids and were constantly made fun of because we were hiding a Dragonlance novel in our backpacks or behind girly magazines which I was supposed to be more interested in reading. When the girls in my grade were brushing up on their makeup skills, I was attempting to teach myself Elvish. So I understand what it’s like to feel cast out from society and what is expected of you…

…now imagine finding a group of like-minded people who love the lore you do, who play the games you do, only to discover that many of them still cast you out simply because of your gender. To be an outcast among outcasts is not fun.

Now, I can’t wait for the next convention and I hope the same man is running Pathfinder’s Society games at the same time as I run mine. Simply so I can look across the room from my table to his and I can show him that “sweetie’s” like me can game just as well as old grognards.


Anybody who reads this and says to themselves “it doesn’t happen” or “it happens so rarely” or “gatekeeping towards females in tabletop is bullshit”…I beg you to stop for a moment. Just because you have never experienced it nor witnessed it does not mean it does not happen enough for it to be a problem. The incident which has resulted in my fears of conventions occurred in Toronto, Canada in 2011, and no, I won’t fully indulge the incident for my own privacy but it only occurred because I am a woman and he was a man. Simple as. This should never occur in any tabletop community. Don’t let it happen in yours.



Edited to add: Paizo has been very helpful since this article in resolving this issue and we will be solving it privately going forward. As well, Phantasm, the convention in question this occured at in 2017, has also been incredibly helpful and are working at new strategies to make it so in the future things like this can be put to a quick stop and be dealt with in a timely and conclusive manner. Thank you everyone for your ongoing support and I apologise for every person who has every experienced anything similar in their gaming lives. I’ve received so many messages and emails stating “This happened to me, too” and it makes me so sad but also so proud that these women are feeling brave enough to come forward now. So thank you all for allowing a platform for that to happen.

Edited to add again: I have no idea where Paizo stands with handling this situation. It has been awhile since they’ve been in contact. It appears they have done so in a way that has caused some resignations from other Pathfinder GMs that were not involved with the incident. As well, the convention in questions is seemingly doing everything in their power to silence my voice as well as any voice of a reasonable ally. Please see here for further details.

142 thoughts on ““Honey, Let the Real Gamers Play””

  1. It’s good to see that here, in the comments at least, you aren’t getting the various forms of hostility (false equivalencies, ad hominems, experience deniers, etc) that exist out there. I’ve written about this problem, and I have seen the fire that burns when you take this problem to the choir, so to speak. My player literally raped one of my female NPCs. That was quite hard to respond to. “Freezing up” doesn’t even begin to describe it when you’ve got to keep the game going as a DM.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. …How in the hell did you, as a GM, allow that kind of behavior to carry on to fruition? Are you saying that you simply choked up and couldn’t bring yourself to slam the goddamn gavel down? Because shit like that is a perfectly good reason to smash on the brakes for a hot minute and do a course correction.


  2. This made me furious. I’m sorry you experienced this marginalization, and I’m sorry it’s made you reluctant to engage in a hobby you enjoy. I hope my daughter doesn’t have to face this, but if she does I hope she has as much ability to express her feelings and perform such thorough introspection as you do. Good luck with your future gaming.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah, *totally* fucking believe this. You had every right to leave, and you didn’t. Honestly, you would be a good player if you put your imagination to good use, instead of bullshit, exaggerated stories like this. As a woman, and a gamer, you are not getting any sympathy from me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The only reason I approved your hateful comment is so that others can see it.

      Perhaps you have never dealt with PTSD, anxiety or gatekeeping or all three rolled into one? Instead, consider yourself lucky, and say “Thank Merlin not me, what can we do as a community going forward to squash these mentalities?”

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Sorry, forgot to add. Sympathy is not the necessary component to take out of this. If anything, it’s the drive to action. This story, be it mine, is the story of so many others. I have been contacted by hundreds of women relaying their personal stories of similar, and sometimes worse, scenarios involved with the tabletop gaming community. Does that not mean, hey, we need to stand up and do something to stop this? Especially for those who might not be able to, in the moment (like myself), stand up and say no/walk away?

      Liked by 1 person

    3. I have responded on your social media account privately as I stated below in other comments I will no longer allow the continuation of unsupportive and harassing posts. I just don’t have any spoons to handle that, especially when you are attempting to put words (and beliefs) in my mouth as well as slandering me without need. I have responded for any help and support you may need as well, because it appears you might need an ally and I’m willing to be that if you’re willing to let me. Please check your “other messages” for such..


  4. The reason she isn’t getting any backlash is because she doesn’t approve the ones that she doesn’t like. That’s why they’re set up for approval. She’s too scared to deal with the backlash.


    1. I’ve seen shit like this. There is nothing about this story that is unbelievable to me. The only thing lacking is any empathy from you. You’re a troll, and a shitty one at that. Female my ass.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. What exactly is believable about this story? Seriously, how indoctrinated do you have to be to NOT SEE how much of a dramatic farce this article is? Maybe there is a sexism and exclusivism problem in gaming culture – but even if there is, stuff like this just makes rational, real people roll their eyes.


  5. http://latining.tumblr.com/post/141567276944/tabletop-gaming-has-a-white-male-terrorism-problem – What this article reminded me of. Yes, you’re that cringe-worthy.

    You’ve got a decent imagination, I’ll give you that. I don’t know if the situation you described actually happened, but whatever *did* actually happen got lost in the gross exaggeration and dramatization of the narrative.

    It’s easy to make it look like everyone agrees with you when the only comments you allow are the “Poor you!” and “How horrible!” comments. Poor, horrible you, I say.


    1. I actually haven’t deleted a single comment, though this is the second one where I felt it necessary. Why? Not because you (same person as the other comment is my guess) disagree with me and for some reason believe what truly did happen is a lie (does it make you feel more comfortable to believe that?), but because it’s harmful to the many individuals who come here from the same experiences and are afraid to stand up with their own stories to tell then see discouraging comments like this. The ever-so-typical “BUT SHE COULD BE LYING” troll.

      But then I think, hey, let these people be heard. And let them see how vastly outnumbered they truly are. And let it be seen that people who support this type of behaviour (by silence, acceptance, ignoring, OR attempting to silence any people who have this shit done to them *ahem*) really do exist…so it is something that still needs to be dealt with as a whole.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. On the assumption that any of this really did happen as-written, your go-to action for dealing with it is “Leave the table, make a complaint, and move on.” The reason I have a hard time believing it went down as-written is because as a whole people don’t act like that.

        So, let me ask you this. What actually happened, and how did you actually react to it? Because dramatizations like this are great for fiction, but pretty rotten for transcript.


    2. And I apologise if my PTSD/anxiety due to previous incidents caused this piece to feel “grossly exaggerated” or to have a “dramatised narrative”, sometimes life isn’t as mundane or vanilla as you’d like to think it is, and these things happen to this (and worse) proportions. Don’t believe so? Look at ALL the shared accounts attached to this piece. This may have been an incident that occurred to me, but this isn’t just my story. Not in the slightest.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mr. Fortner,

        What exactly do you think her motive for lying would be?

        She didn’t name anyone publicly. Moreover, why do you care so passionately? If you don’t think it’s true, why are you here, posting? Are you the GM, or one of the offensive players in the story? If not, what is your interest?

        For the record, I have no reason to doubt Mysty. I believe her and support her and the cause of safe gaming for everyone.

        Tell me why you think I should believe you. If not, I think you’re done here. The internet’s a big place and you can go elsewhere.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. If I had to take a crack at a motive, Jim, I’d say “attention”.

        The article started off fine, but by the time you get to the over-the-top character descriptions from that one individual at the first game, the action-reaction-feeling cycle goes way over the top. The idea that it happened exactly as written is so absurd to be unbelievable.

        I ran it by my wife, just to make sure I wasn’t being overly critical, and I believe her exact response was, “What is this nonsense?” So, there’s that.


      3. This “man” is part of the problem. I suspect he’s the kind of ass that would pull this shit. I don’t for a second believe Morgan is a separate person. I hope he never has kids; I fear he would beat them as he’s tried to beat you.


      4. You may address me directly.

        I’m 31, married, and I have a 2 year-old son. I’m a veteran that deals with and recognizes PTSD on a regular basis; my wife (Morgan) has her own issues, which is on her if she wants to share.

        I do not perpetuate the type of behavior indicated in this article, nor do I advocate it. I also have never once seen it in any of the dozens of gaming groups I’ve either sponsored, played in, or GM’d over. So there’s that.

        If you have something constructive to add to the conversation, though, you’re welcome to attempt it.


      5. Your wife also believes women are “part of the problem” and “decide to lie when they don’t get their way” (in regards to rape it seems). So basically your wife and yourself are misogynists as one can tell from one minute of looking at your posts. She goes on tirades to demean and put down women who come forward. Did you (and her) know that so many assaults go unreported? So many rapes? Do you know why?

        Fear. As well as people like the two of you who come around saying it’s bullshit and that women are “problems” and that men “don’t need them” and are better off without them.

        All words from your wife. So going to her to see if you were being “too critical” is a bit pointless. You are simply two misogynists. Life is too short to live with so much hate and doubt.

        Liked by 2 people

      6. The reasons are personal, but my wife has good reasons for being pretty anti-woman. Perhaps anti-woman wouldn’t be entirely accurate, but it’s a broad enough stroke to get the idea across. I also know that she hates the victim mentality, and also has a lot of loathing for manipulative women. I’m not necessarily implying anything there; I’m just giving you some intentionally obscure info, and I’ll leave it at that.

        I apologized for my initial reaction to your article. I don’t have a problem with the message; just some significant doubts about the events as written (given the narrative), which in turn pretty much caused me to scoff at and doubt the entire content of the article. So there’s that.

        I wouldn’t really use the word misogynist for either of us. But I’m no social justice warrior or white knight, either. I believe everyone should stand on their own two feet and on their own merits, and I judge people by whatever fruit I see them produce. That’s all.


      7. “it takes a village to raise a child, but what they don’t tell you is it also takes a village to be an adult”. Not being able to stand on your own two feet sometimes, be it man or women, is nothing to be ashamed of. We all need help from time to time.

        Perhaps instead of coming here and continuing that misogyny (it is honestly what both of you come across as doing) you two should figure out the exact reasons why you have such hate for women and the “victim mentality” (it’s okay to be a victim, though many nowadays are preferring to be called Survivors. It is not their faults that they have been treated this way or go through assaults, rape, harassment, etc., So why such hate on the “victims” behalf?), and deal with those reasons directly instead of spreading hate, disbelief, doubt and accusations to other people? It’s unhealthy, unkind, and as a parent myself (and educator) I’d never want to set such an example for my child. Know better, be better, do better.

        Liked by 2 people

      8. What I believe, Mysty, if you want to actually read my post since you’re obviously looking at my Facebook, is that women want to say they don’t need no man, well men don’t need women either. That was my post, but you didn’t want to read all of that or take me out of context. Here, let me comment my post:

        “When you’re a strong independent woman that “don’t need no man” and then bitch about how you can’t find a man.

        Realize, men don’t need you either. They are just as capable of living on their own too. In fact, lately, women are just another problem. It’s so easy for a man to get convicted of something they didn’t do because a batshit woman decided to lie because she can’t get her way.


        By “women are just another problem”, I mean there are a lot of women that make up rape, not all, and this is something that you need to actually read.. SOME OF THEM DO. There are stories of women lying about being raped, and this is coming from somebody that has gone through it, and does suffer from PTSD from it. Men are afraid of that, hence why they want to remain single – as for other comments, I’m not sure how commenting works on here so I don’t know if they show up or not, any comments saying that “you need to approve them”, I apologize. I just can’t see my own comments when I come back to the page.

        So no, I am not ‘misogynist”, I just am on the side of men, as well. I speak out for men for the most part, but as far as this post goes, I apologize if this actually happened and we came across as dicks.


      9. Sure, some do..do you know how many? The percentage of who do? Incredibly, I mean almost unfathomably indefinably, low. And the percentage of occurences that instead go unreported? Much, MUCH higher. It is clear what your stances are and your husband further backed up that you indeed do not like women on another one of his responses. Please take the hateful attitude elsewhere.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. You are truly a hateful POS. You’ve never seen this happen, so it must never happen, right?? What a limited imagination you have. I hope I never see you across a gaming table, because life is too short to waste it on idiots like you. Unfortunately, I’ve met idiots like the ones described in this account. Personally, I love gaming with all kinds of different people at the tabl. It makes for a much richer experience. But it’s a-holes like you and the ones described who keep giving my hobby a bad name and keeping good people away from the table. I’d like to tell you what to go do with yourself, but my parents always told me that if I don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all. Mysty, I’m truly sorry for the experience you had. All I can tell you is that not everyone who plays PFS is a jerk, and I hope you give it another chance.

      Liked by 2 people

    4. You mentioned earlier, “What exactly is believable about this story?” without actually saying what exactly is UNbelievable about this story. You think that there are no such people ANYWHERE who would actually judge a player as not a REAL player just because of their prejudices, without actually having seen or allowed her to play?

      Honestly, you are actually providing the blogger a great example of that exact behavior, calling her recounting experience not ‘real’, not because you were THERE and know that her experience was not what she said it was – you weren’t – and not because you have actually pointed out anything particularly implausible – you haven’t. You’re saying she’s not REALLY telling the truth simply because you have a prejudice against her point of view and assume it MUST be wrong, and based on no more authority than your desire to continue sticking your fingers in your ears and go “la, la, la, that doesn’t happen”, you call her a liar and think you need provide no evidence for your contention – your Supreme Word should be enough.

      I’d say your comments here provide great proof for the OP that there REALLY ARE people exactly like that.


    5. Josh,

      Maybe you’ve been incredibly privileged to not see women pushed out of gaming – tabletop and video. But I have seen girls pushed out if high school clubs, women discouraged from tournaments, etc.

      Inclusion fucking matters. And right now, you’re not being very inclusive, joshie-kins.

      If you want gaming to be fun for everyone, you need to put in the effort to change gaming environments. If you see somebody acting priggish, call them on it. If there’s a new player, be accommodating. And for the love of Buddha: welcome and hear out women.

      The Fistful of Frags gaming scene is small, but an increasing number of our top tier players are women. Or take Warframe as another example: the Warframe community is welcoming, accomadating, and helpful. Roughly 40% of Warframe players are women – numbers unheard of in the shooter genre.

      You mistook a call for change as a personal attack on your masculinity


  6. After reading this and all the comments, I wonder how life will be like to think this is bullshit.
    I really want to know. So these things don’t happen to your life? Like, when you want to join the game and when the other players realize you don’t have a penis, they don’t sigh or roll their eyes? What? This is like a whole new world to me. When you want to play a bard, no one mumbles “Of course”? Or when you want to play a tank, none of them scoffs with “Oh yeah?”
    How sweet that will be! Of course you’ve never seen “these things” happen… Of course. It never happens to you.


  7. Mysty this is my first time seeing this article and I’m so saddened by this having happen to you. I’m also proud to know that I was part of your table with Geoff. That was an amazing time. I’m glad we are the community we are. You are one of the best roleplayers I’ve ever met. I have not had the pleasure of you GMing for me yet but I do know that anyone I’ve talked to that has enjoyed it emensly.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I dug into the issue a bit more on Reddit with some of the people on /r/RPG, and I’ve come to a few conclusions.

    – There’s a lot of manufactured outrage, a lot of angry people, and a lot of fear. I think that anger and fear could use some solid dispelling. My original reaction to this article was because, by nature of the narrative (which I’m still not certain isn’t grossly exaggerated), it caused some collateral damage and had some perhaps unforeseen impacts. A lot of people react with fear and trepidation after reading your article; namely, women that had no prior experience with social gaming hubs, are now reacting with statements like, “I want to never attend an event like this.” And that’s a problem for the community.

    – On the assumption that your story is totally legit, the biggest issue was that there was no personal responsibility on the field: You were unable or unwilling to take a stand or take a hike, and instead sat there and took the abuse; the GM was unable or unwilling to control his table and guide the game; and the other players were unable or unwilling to ensure and enable each other to have a great time. I think the thing I hated most about your article as that it painted you as a victim from literally the first sentence, and the victim mentality, or even just the victim situation, drives me crazy.

    – I still believe that the story as-written is unbelievable. It’s just too over-the-top. Maybe I’m wrong, or maybe from your perspective those things happened exactly as you narrated them. There’s a lot of drama, a lot of emphasis, and the antagonists acted supremely like stereotypical comic book villains or cartoon network bullies – very hard to paint realistically. But putting the veracity of the article aside for a moment: I apologize if I’ve belittled whatever it was you actually went through. And ultimately I don’t want you, or anyone, walking into a social gaming event with the level of trepidation and fear that you apparently went into this one with.

    Oh, and you may want to seek professional help if that’s the level of anxiety you operate with on a regular basis. That’s not healthy at all.


    1. I do have professional help and attending the convention is part of “immersion therapy”. And yes, I COULD NOT walk away. I was frozen. In fear, anxiety, simply frozen. Are these faults of my own? Absolutely. I don’t see being a victim as weakness because people like this will prey on anyone, and everyone responds differently. The thing is, you’re making this all a negative against me because I have faults that caused me to be scared, to freeze, but none of those are the points at ALL. The point is this should never happen to begin with. And it all *did* happen. If I wanted attention, as you so earlier accused, I’d ask Paizo to deal with it publicly – as THEY wanted to – but I requested it be dealt with privately so as to not draw more negative attention to the community itself.

      Also, literally from the first sentence, I was attempting to overcome my past assault from a previous convention. So, yeah, I guess I was a “victim” from the start, but there is nothing I could have done to avoid that save not participate in the hobby whatsoever simply because I am a woman.

      In the future, perhaps attempt to not victim blame, belittle women and demean their experiences, then in the end of it all say “okay MAYBE, but you need professional help”. Perhaps your lack of humanity is a cry for the same? Good luck going forward with so much doubt, disbelief, and discontent with your fellow people in your heart. I really hope you can, some day, live a bit more peacefully if only just to teach your son to not make the same mistakes.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I showed a little bit of humility and you couldn’t take a step back yourself. Great, good on you, lady. Reminds me why apparently I’m so happy “being a misogynist”.

        Have a great life or something.


      2. That was not humility, you did the whole tactic of a poor “apology” followed by furthering to attempt to discredit myself. So yes, I am setting facts straight. You told me to get professional help in the end, very condescendingly, and the funny thing is anybody with any knowledge of PTSD (as you claim to have) would know this is part of the therapeutic healing process. But okay. Good luck with you and your wives very disturbing attitudes. I’m sorry, so many women are reading these comments for hope, community, and encouragement that since you two are admitted misogynists, I shall no longer let anymore of that seep in here. Find a different platform for your hatred, as there is a much bigger issue at hand here, thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Mr. Fortner,

      I continue to reject your perspective for similar reasons that you claim to reject Mysty’s. Specifically, your behavior in this discussion is weird and unbelievable. You have an agenda here. You arrive out of the blue seemingly to expose what you think is a hoax. As if Mysty was conducting seances and you’re some amateur detective. Why do you care, if you don’t believe it? Why are you expending energy here, if you don’t believe it? Don’t you have anything else to do? Honestly, the same charge of attention seeking can be applied to you. “I’m Joshua Fortner, self-appointed debunker of false claims of marginalized behavior! Look at me!” Examine yourself, you’ve escalated to replying to every post.

      And yeah, I’m feeding you attention. Kinda annoyed with myself for that. So this will be my final comment.

      I don’t believe for a second you’re here for any sort of honest discussion. You either know some of the parties involved, you are one of them, or you recognize your own behavior in the post-and now you feel vilified. Look, her core message is “be inclusive.” You’ve just claimed you don’t have a problem with that. Yet, you do have a problem with the details. You claim she is attention seeking, and you’re right there with her seeking attention for yourself, if that’s the case. (Note, she’s apparently moved on other than replying to your continued remarks.)

      What in hell are you trying to accomplish. “I agree with her message, but none of that happened, and she needs therapy, and I can’t explain why I need to tell everybody that I don’t believe her!” WTF?

      And, dude, suggesting to a stranger that they need to see a therapist is the lamest and most insincere passive aggressive personal attack ever devised.

      Call me an asshole if you like, but you’re being odd here and I don’t trust your motives.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for sharing. I’ve seen this behavior time and time again over the years. It’s not surprising ball cap bro showed up to victim shame, and ask for “proof” (wtf is wrong with you?). Not everyone experiences this in their lifetime, or most likely they just don’t notice it when it happens (easy to believe something doesn’t exist because you aren’t affected by it, kind of the narrative right now in the US). FWIW I’m also a veteran of multiple wars, white male in my late 40s. I don’t use trauma in my life as an example for others to “suck it up” when they experience shitty behavior. And it’s pretty easy to learn not to shame people for sharing, listen to their stories, and learn how to be a better person at the table and in life.


  10. I haven’t been to a convention in years. If this is the behavior that goes on there these days, I have no interest in going to one again. I’m glad to hear that the event organizers are working with you to prevent such things in the future.


    1. Stories like this are WHY you andany decent people SHOULD attend cons! Be there. If decent people don’t attend, the indecent (non-decent?) ones will get to have things their way. F’ that!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. The thing is, the stories from people who aren’t straight, cisgender white guys about trying to play RPGs, particularly pickup groups like at conventions, are so consistent in their awfulness that it only makes sense that there’s a real problem. Having anxiety myself, the part about freezing up and not being able to speak up rings painfully true too. The knee-jerk rejection of this is widespread and predictable too. I wish I knew what to do about it, but fixing convention culture is something for people without clinical anxiety to tackle, so I’m mostly trying to cultivate a space online and in the market for friendlier games.


  12. I am very sorry this happened to you. I read your update that phantasm is helping make sure this never happens again, so that’s good. I know the organiser would have put an end to that immediately if he’d known (not blaming you for not telling him), and I hope that gm is no longer welcome at phantasm.


  13. Sadly this type of shit happens all to frequently. When I played DnD regularly, I didn’t see men or women, I saw fellow players. But I did see women degraded, not listened to, or far worse. Bravo for you putting this out there, to let others know what women go thru all to often, and maybe just maybe it will open a few eyes to some men’s own behavior, and get them to correct it.


  14. I have no problem believing this, as it has happened to myself several times at conventions, even though I am a white male. Often times, this behavior is excused/ignored because the rest of the players are friends with the offender(s) and either ignore or agree with the bad behavior.


  15. Speaking as a female GM and VC in Organized Play, I was welcomed early. Yep, I have played in rooms where I was the only woman — but everyone I have met treated me like I belonged. PFS has been a haven for me. My experience in the world of Explore, Cooperate, Report has been endlessly positive.

    That said, I am horrified this this happened at a PFS convention. Mysty, if you are reading this, please know that all of Organized Play is not like this. I have found it to be mostly jerk-free, but every organization has its problem children. It is my profound hope that Organized Play deals with this matter swiftly and appropriately, and suspends those involved.

    Thank you for speaking out.

    Hilary Moon Murphy
    Venture Captain Online


  16. Wow. If I’d been a player, I would have taken both the GM and “Freya” to task the first time he described “Freya”.
    Me: “I thought we were playing heroic fantasy, not indulging your sad little sex fantasy. If I was mistaken, then I am happy to leave.”


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