Gaming group composition; fluke, odd, or actually common.


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


So, in the process of posting on a different thread, I had one of my random thoughts.

In my current game group, everyone is part of a couple. There's my husband and I, the married couple who host, and our other two friends (formerly married, now divorced).

As gamers our community has come a long way, but the old stereotypes do still crop up. The old stereotype of a gamer is the socially awkward, single, young guy, and a female at the table was practically rarer than a unicorn. Obviously, for those of us who've played for years (or decades) we know this cliché is overstated, but we all also knew (or were) some of those guys.

Now, none of my group is super young any more. We're not elderly either, but all in our 30's to 40's. Is this just a symptom of where we are all at in our lives, or is our group odd? I doubt there are any studies out there, so this is mostly looking for anecdotal insights. How common is it to see couples at the gaming table, much less an entire group of couples?


My standard group is me and my two best friends and they're both single. On occasion my...let's call her a girlfriend. Joins us for a one shot or short campaign. But she's much busier than the rest of us so she cant play often. She's just as big of a gamer as us though. We did play with one of my friend's exes before they were exes but afterwords things got awkward and she left the group


Our group is two single dudes, one guy married(me) and a boyfriend/girlfriend couple and an older single dude. Everyone but the older dude is in their mid 20s and the older gentlemen is in his 40s. I think it's a natural process with the passage of time. Couples will get interested in their SO's hobby and join or they won't.

Couples playing with other couples sounds nice and more welcoming than the usual "Hey guys! My girlfriend is gonna join our group of socially awkward dudes!"


My group is 4 married men and a soon-to-be married man. We're all in our 30's.

When I joined the group my sister and her boyfriend were a part of the group (they moved away for work). We've also had a few friends play some one-shots with us - including my female cousin (who is also the wife of one of the players).

I've definitely seen more guys than girls playing, but it's not all a boys club.


I started playing RPGs in the mid-80s, when being a female gamer was definitely rarer than it is now, and over the years I have been in groups that varied from the classic "all single guys except me" to "all couples". My longest running group (which has had the same core since the mid-90s) is me, my partner and three single guys, so fits that stereotype, but there's another group which is two couples and two halves with non-gaming partners.

Age-wise - mostly we're in our 40s/50s. I suspect this is a mix of playing with long term friends of the same generation and (for those who have childern) having had the kids grow past the point where they need constant attention. Some of those have turned into second-generation gamers, so that's another dynamic.


The group I am playing in has 4 guys and 2 women currently, plus a male GM. It was basically the same 2:1 ratio all the time, despite (or thanks to?) the GM's steady attempts to add women. The average age should be around 50, with invidual players ranging from end 30s to begin of their 60s. The only young player was a woman I recruited when she was 19, but she moved on soon afterwards. Most of us are in a relationship or married, and we are all not that socially awkward. Teehee.

When I started GMing, I asked a friend and his flatmate, both a few years younger than me. They came up with two coworkers quickly, so we took off with a very uniform group: All male, in their 30s, from an IT environment, most of us single. Over time some guys left or joined (or left and rejoined), and my girlfriend became part of the group. The latter went pretty well, maybe because she is agreeable - or maybe because she is a psychotherapist, hence used to deal with odd behavior. Now most of us are in a relationship, one guy even married another guy (from outside the gaming table). The partners don't make my life as a GM easier, but maybe I can drag one or two of them into the game over time.


I've been gaming for almost 40 years, and the gender mix of the gaming communities I've belonged to has changed a great deal over time. I've definitely found that I prefer a more balanced mix, and that couples who both game seem to have a much smoother time with scheduling.

Back in high school and college, female gamers were rare. My little sister joined my h.s. D&D game for a brief time, but she was a far more casual gamer than the rest of us. My college D&D game started with 2 women out of around 6-7 players. Both women were older--a recent college grad and a junior professor--and moved out of the area after that first year, and sadly, we never recruited any other women.

Shortly after college, I moved to Boston and met my future wife, who attended a women's college and had recently been introduced to RPGs by mutual friends there. The greater Boston area in general had a much more visible population of female gamers, so I quickly became accustomed to having one or more women in almost any group I played with. In the 20 years I lived in Boston, I can only recall being in one all-male group. 30-50% women was more common, and in one of the longer campaigns I ran, I was the only man.

The core of my current home group is two couples: my wife and I, her college BFF, and that friend's husband. The four of us are all in our 40s (except me, who turned 50 this year). Depending on the game, we might be joined by one or more of our kids. (Ours are 16 and 15, and regularly play and GM D&D with their school friends, while theirs is 7, and still new to RPGs.) For a brief time, we had a younger married couple (mid-20s) in our group, until postdoc jobs took them out of state, plus a mid-40s divorcee (who was chronically overcommitted to his other hobbies).

Our current local PFS/SFS community is much more male-dominated, with my wife and one NB gamer (now both V.O.'s) being the only non-male regulars. (My wife's BFF is an occasional player at best, due to parental duties and being far less interested in OP than regular campaigns.) We try hard to be inclusive and welcoming, but the pandemic threw a huge monkey-wrench into local recruiting. OTOH, playing online means we've been joined by people from further away than our locals, so the mix is slowly becoming less skewed.

My wife recently commented that PFS 2E seems to attract a more balanced gender mix than 1E, at least in our area. 2E hasn't caught on much here, in large part because most of us are still very invested in 1E. There may be a certain amount of old-school grognard-ism behind that resistance, with all the baggage that implies. In contrast, one of the other lodges in our region, which has more female membership--and leadership--has embraced 2E more enthusiastically, so almost all of our 2E games are online with them these days.


our group was 2 married couples, 1 married guy (without his wife) and 1 single guy.
one of the married couple recently dropped out and we replaced them with another married couple.

3 of us have gamed together for 25 years, 2 of us have gamed together for 35 years.


Thanks for all the sharing so far. Good to know that we aren't all as rare or odd as the Hollywood cliché would portray us. I really enjoy learning about other's gaming experiences.

Shadow Lodge

When I was little, like grade to middle school age, I played in a group of all kids my own age. Since then though, I've always played in groups with a wide spread of ages. My current home game groups range from their 20s to 60s. Some are married, some are divorced, some are single, some have kids, some don't, others have grand kids. Gender wise though, predominantly male.


I'm Male but my last group was all women.

I have at least 2 women in my groups usually, and often they make up 50% of the players.


My group is currently

Me: The recently divorced guy who is ALWAYS the GM.
Player 1: Male, divorced for about two years now. His ex-wife used to game with us, too.
Player 2: Male, and as far as anyone knows has never had a date in his entire life.
Player 3: Male, separated from his wife.
Player 4: His fourteen year old daughter
Player 5: Female, divorced about 20 years now

Occasional Players
Player 6: Male, unmarried 29 years old.
Player 7: Male, single, somewhere in his 40s.

Except as noted, we're all in our early to mid 50s (I'm the oldest at 57). Most of us have played together for over 30 years.


Sysryke wrote:

So, in the process of posting on a different thread, I had one of my random thoughts.

In my current game group, everyone is part of a couple. There's my husband and I, the married couple who host, and our other two friends (formerly married, now divorced).

As gamers our community has come a long way, but the old stereotypes do still crop up. The old stereotype of a gamer is the socially awkward, single, young guy, and a female at the table was practically rarer than a unicorn. Obviously, for those of us who've played for years (or decades) we know this cliché is overstated, but we all also knew (or were) some of those guys.

Now, none of my group is super young any more. We're not elderly either, but all in our 30's to 40's. Is this just a symptom of where we are all at in our lives, or is our group odd? I doubt there are any studies out there, so this is mostly looking for anecdotal insights. How common is it to see couples at the gaming table, much less an entire group of couples?

In my experience, once you get older than college-age, couples become fairly common.

My wife and I are in the 30s & 40s range also. We game together, and most of the table top groups we've been in in the last decade or so had at least one other married couple in them.

Other players were mostly single guys, but there has been a single woman or two also.


My main Thursday night group consists of eight (two alternating campaigns, five play in each with three more in just one or the other). Seven men and one woman. The woman and one of the men are in a commited relationship (not married, but they have just had a baby together).

Of the rest of the group, one is married. Two are divorced but, one of them would have been married again (to someone else) by now if not for COVID. Two are single (including me), and one has a girlfriend but I am not sure how serious it is.

So we fit the stereotype a little better than some in this thread, but not too closely. Especially as with the couple, she joined first and then dragged him along later, rather than the other way around.

_
glass.


My group has been together for about 10 years and we are now in our late 20s to mid 30s, when we started it was one couple and a bunch of single dudes. Eventually the couple broke up, the guy left and the girl stayed, some time after that she and one of the single dudes started dating and eventually got married to each other.
Another one of the single dudes also got married but his wife doesnt care about gaming.
When I was dating my gf joined the group but she left when we broke up.
We also have a friend who doesnt game but his gf likes it so she joined the group.
The last person to join is a single girl that is work friends with one of the single dudes.


FamiliarMask wrote:
Sysryke wrote:

So, in the process of posting on a different thread, I had one of my random thoughts.

In my current game group, everyone is part of a couple. There's my husband and I, the married couple who host, and our other two friends (formerly married, now divorced).

As gamers our community has come a long way, but the old stereotypes do still crop up. The old stereotype of a gamer is the socially awkward, single, young guy, and a female at the table was practically rarer than a unicorn. Obviously, for those of us who've played for years (or decades) we know this cliché is overstated, but we all also knew (or were) some of those guys.

Now, none of my group is super young any more. We're not elderly either, but all in our 30's to 40's. Is this just a symptom of where we are all at in our lives, or is our group odd? I doubt there are any studies out there, so this is mostly looking for anecdotal insights. How common is it to see couples at the gaming table, much less an entire group of couples?

In my experience, once you get older than college-age, couples become fairly common.

My wife and I are in the 30s & 40s range also. We game together, and most of the table top groups we've been in in the last decade or so had at least one other married couple in them.

Other players were mostly single guys, but there has been a single woman or two also.

Yeah, I think it is fairly common that your friends are in similar places in their lives as you are in yours.


Our group is a little large so it has 3-4 games active depending on player availability. Not everyone is in all games so we play whichever game we have the people for.

Our entire group currently consists of the following:

Our regular GM who is a married woman just into her 50's. Her husband does not play and has 0 interest in any gaming at all.
Her 16 and 19 year old daughters.
An unmarried mid 50's male.
A divorced late 40's male.
An unmarried mid 50s woman.
Another mid 50's male who is recently divorced.
His daughter a single early 20's woman.
One early 50's married male who plays remotely from another state (he introduced me to the group ages ago). His wife is an avid gamer but not table top. The two of them met when I dragged my friend to one of the first Everquest fan faires in Las Vegas.

In my youth through my late 20's, women were rare in my gaming groups but not non existent. I would guess the ratio of male to female during that time was 5 to 1.

In my last 20 years though it has far closer. Maybe 5-4 which I think is fantastic. But none of those had couples in them in that time.

Over the last 17 years we have had 2 married couples in the game at the same time. One of them divorced and they both moved and we lost them to the game. One divorced being the late 40's male above. His wife at one time played with our group but after their break up left the area.


I mean, as a grown man in his late 40's there are women at my tables. I think a more accurate comparison though is my high school gaming group versus my daughter's group at the same age.

When I was 16 me and a bunch of dudes made a D&D 1e campaign. Our group pretty much remained all boys until we finished our senior years and brought in our girlfriends for brief periods. It remained mostly guys through the first 2 years of college, until we began to diversify.

My older daughter at 16 had already gamed with me several times in home games, but wasn't much of a "gamer" for TTRPGs. She's mostly a board gamer and enjoys some console games. Anyway, she was into a chess and board game group through school, boys and girls, and some of the boys were starting a 5e game. My daughter joined in, as did one other girl, so over all the group was 2 girls, 5 guys. Now, a year and a half later, they're down to my daughter and 3 guys.

As an adult I've gamed with single women, women dating members of the group or with married couples. I think the commonality of this is the maturity of adulthood. While I don't think its as rare to have young kids from multiple genders game together these days, I think there is still a challenge from, shall we say, hormone-induced mania between some genders at that age that complicates a casual social relationship.

So I guess what I'm saying is that there are more female gamers in my daughter's generation, IMO, than when I was the same age, but they might not always play TTRPG's with boys.

Of course, I also have to acknowledge that gender these days is more of a spectrum and maturity around physical attraction is COMPLETELY different than when I was a kid. I think this actually makes it MORE likely that kids continue to intermingle at gaming tables as time goes on.


I know it's pretty common, but being a child of it, I'm just going to reiterate "divorce sucks". No judgments, it's all too often necessary, and I always hope those who part can find some happiness and healing. The process however, still still stinks.

In my group we've managed to keep the awkwardness to a minimum, but we still have each half of the divorced couple at the table. As a couple they've always been a bit odd, but now split, they seem to keep it friendly, at least at the table. So, interested to hear about other groups, but also wondering, has anybody managed to successfully continue a game with both persons from a split couple?


The first group I ran was all female. Some of the players no longer identify as female.

Now I run games for a full spectrum of gender identities and orientations. Cis males are probably the most common, but not overwhelmingly so.

Social awkwardness isn't very dependent on gender. Most of my players are in relationships of one kind or another, this is also not indicative of social skills.

In terms of demographics, my players tend to skew heavily white and young adult to middle age, with some notable exceptions.

Interestingly, this doesn't necessarily reflect the demographics of other aspects of my life.

It may be worth mention the hobby was historically pretty unwelcoming to people who weren't straight cis white males, despite some of the fundamental forerunners being very much not male, not straight, not cis, and not white.

The beast still regularly raises its head, so that's not really history yet.


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Artofregicide wrote:

It may be worth mention the hobby was historically pretty unwelcoming to people who weren't straight cis white males, despite some of the fundamental forerunners being very much not male, not straight, not cis, and not white.

Never ever have I found this to be even remotely true.

Every group I've been in has never discriminated on anything but is this person going to be good to play with or not.

Not that I want to get into an argument about it or to have it derail the thread. Just my experience over a life time of gaming.


All thoughts and insights welcome; conversation is and should be an organic thing after all. I did lay some unintentional confusion in the OP though. The stereotypical example of the socially awkward young male player, was more about society's projection that all gamers were social troglodytes doomed to never even have a date. I wasn't meaning to focus on anyone's gender, bits or identity. Mostly I was curious about the ratios of single players vs. couples at the table. I'm not always good at clarity in my OPs. Again, though, all contributions welcome. I love a good conversation.

Shadow Lodge

As far as percentage married, according to a quick web search ~45% of the adult population of the US is married, which is pretty close to the same in groups of adults I've played with.


When I was younger, it was 95% single men. Then those single men became married men with kids, and gaming largely stopped. If I ever get time, I'll prise the kids away from Minecraft and Roblox and show them some real RPGs.


Lemartes wrote:
Artofregicide wrote:

It may be worth mention the hobby was historically pretty unwelcoming to people who weren't straight cis white males, despite some of the fundamental forerunners being very much not male, not straight, not cis, and not white.

Never ever have I found this to be even remotely true.

Every group I've been in has never discriminated on anything but is this person going to be good to play with or not.

Not that I want to get into an argument about it or to have it derail the thread. Just my experience over a life time of gaming.

Lemartes, I'm really glad your experiences with and of the hobby have been pleasurable and fair.

I consider the hobby to be unwelcoming, and I am a cis, white male.


1 Married couple (me and my wife, I DM)
1 couple who have been together longer than my wife and I
2 men in equally long term relationships. Their partner's don't play with us.


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There's only one thing that keeps couples from being welcome at tables - gameplay versus foreplay. See, if the couple can run their PCs and interact with everyone at the table equally, keep it in their pants so to speak, until the game is over, folks generally don't care whether or not they're together.

If however, the couple in question sits in each others' laps, paws at each other through the game, player PCs that are amorous towards each other in game, and so on, it is not fun for the others at the table, regardless of the other players' relationship statuses. Unless of course everyone at the table is just as randy as the couple; age, maturity levels and game focus are factors here.

As a kid I didn't like having couples at the table for just this reason. My own girlfriends in HS and college had strict rules to follow to join in a game. Now as a grown up I really don't run into this too much so, as I said above, I've had games with married couples and a dating couple in them.


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Lemartes wrote:
Artofregicide wrote:

It may be worth mention the hobby was historically pretty unwelcoming to people who weren't straight cis white males, despite some of the fundamental forerunners being very much not male, not straight, not cis, and not white.

Never ever have I found this to be even remotely true.

Every group I've been in has never discriminated on anything but is this person going to be good to play with or not.

Not that I want to get into an argument about it or to have it derail the thread. Just my experience over a life time of gaming.

I'm glad for you! Overall, my personal experiences have not been so privileged. I don't know (or particularly care) what demographics you fall into, but there's a pretty significant chance that plays into it.

But data is not the plural of anecdote. And there is a consistent narrative of minorities who have been pushed away from the table, toxic players/GMs/groups, and discrimination in publishing. It does help that things have gotten a lot better, especially in the last decade as the hobby has gone far more mainstream.

I don't have to share someone's experience to acknowledge and respect it. But to deny that a problem existed and exists is just willful ignorance.

Hopefully you're not implying "Because I personally haven't been discriminated against, discrimination doesn't exist/ isn't a problem." and instead saying "I'm lucky not to have experienced this real and very tragic behavior that is indeed common in the hobby."


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Lemartes wrote:
Artofregicide wrote:

It may be worth mention the hobby was historically pretty unwelcoming to people who weren't straight cis white males, despite some of the fundamental forerunners being very much not male, not straight, not cis, and not white.

Never ever have I found this to be even remotely true.

Every group I've been in has never discriminated on anything but is this person going to be good to play with or not.

Not that I want to get into an argument about it or to have it derail the thread. Just my experience over a life time of gaming.

Lemartes, I'm really glad your experiences with and of the hobby have been pleasurable and fair.

I consider the hobby to be unwelcoming, and I am a cis, white male.

I'll ride the derail train a bit. You're entitled to your opinions and experiences of course, but as another white male, who just happens to be gay, I've also not witnessed the exclusive or unwelcoming nature of the hobby. Have you actually witnessed, participated in, or felt this exclusion, or are you just accepting the guilt that too many wish to blanket apply to all white men? (Some of them/us, do suck, but certainly not all.)


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Artofregicide wrote:
Lemartes wrote:
Artofregicide wrote:

It may be worth mention the hobby was historically pretty unwelcoming to people who weren't straight cis white males, despite some of the fundamental forerunners being very much not male, not straight, not cis, and not white.

Never ever have I found this to be even remotely true.

Every group I've been in has never discriminated on anything but is this person going to be good to play with or not.

Not that I want to get into an argument about it or to have it derail the thread. Just my experience over a life time of gaming.

I'm glad for you! Overall, my personal experiences have not been so privileged. I don't know (or particularly care) what demographics you fall into, but there's a pretty significant chance that plays into it.

But data is not the plural of anecdote. And there is a consistent narrative of minorities who have been pushed away from the table, toxic players/GMs/groups, and discrimination in publishing. It does help that things have gotten a lot better, especially in the last decade as the hobby has gone far more mainstream.

I don't have to share someone's experience to acknowledge and respect it. But to deny that a problem existed and exists is just willful ignorance.

Hopefully you're not implying "Because I personally haven't been discriminated against, discrimination doesn't exist/ isn't a problem." and instead saying "I'm lucky not to have experienced this real and very tragic behavior that is indeed common in the hobby."

Just as one's personal experience of inclusivity is not data across the board, neither are anecdotes of prejudice or exclusion. Anecdotal evidence cuts both ways. To say that something is pervasive or systemic without actual statistical data to back it up, is a failing argument in either direction. Discrimination exists, fact. Random conjectures about its percentage of occurance does little to help solve the issue. I prefer to focus on the positives, and stamp out the ugly bits when and where they rear their heads.


Sysryke wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Lemartes wrote:
Artofregicide wrote:

It may be worth mention the hobby was historically pretty unwelcoming to people who weren't straight cis white males, despite some of the fundamental forerunners being very much not male, not straight, not cis, and not white.

Never ever have I found this to be even remotely true.

Every group I've been in has never discriminated on anything but is this person going to be good to play with or not.

Not that I want to get into an argument about it or to have it derail the thread. Just my experience over a life time of gaming.

Lemartes, I'm really glad your experiences with and of the hobby have been pleasurable and fair.

I consider the hobby to be unwelcoming, and I am a cis, white male.

I'll ride the derail train a bit. You're entitled to your opinions and experiences of course, but as another white male, who just happens to be gay, I've also not witnessed the exclusive or unwelcoming nature of the hobby. Have you actually witnessed, participated in, or felt this exclusion, or are you just accepting the guilt that too many wish to blanket apply to all white men? (Some of them/us, do suck, but certainly not all.)

I am speaking of my own experiences of being made to feel most unwelcome.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Sysryke wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Lemartes wrote:
Artofregicide wrote:

It may be worth mention the hobby was historically pretty unwelcoming to people who weren't straight cis white males, despite some of the fundamental forerunners being very much not male, not straight, not cis, and not white.

Never ever have I found this to be even remotely true.

Every group I've been in has never discriminated on anything but is this person going to be good to play with or not.

Not that I want to get into an argument about it or to have it derail the thread. Just my experience over a life time of gaming.

Lemartes, I'm really glad your experiences with and of the hobby have been pleasurable and fair.

I consider the hobby to be unwelcoming, and I am a cis, white male.

I'll ride the derail train a bit. You're entitled to your opinions and experiences of course, but as another white male, who just happens to be gay, I've also not witnessed the exclusive or unwelcoming nature of the hobby. Have you actually witnessed, participated in, or felt this exclusion, or are you just accepting the guilt that too many wish to blanket apply to all white men? (Some of them/us, do suck, but certainly not all.)
I am speaking of my own experiences of being made to feel most unwelcome.

Fair point, and I'm sorry that happened to you. Bad behavior is bad no matter who does it to whom, or when/where. In the interest of pursuing the topic and hand though, was the lack of welcome do to prejudicial discrimination, or just the "normal" hateful gatekeeping that happens in some aspects of organizations, clubs, and special interest groups all over the world? Neither answer exculpates those responsible, this is more in the vein of academic curiosity.


Mark Hoover 330 wrote:

There's only one thing that keeps couples from being welcome at tables - gameplay versus foreplay. See, if the couple can run their PCs and interact with everyone at the table equally, keep it in their pants so to speak, until the game is over, folks generally don't care whether or not they're together.

If however, the couple in question sits in each others' laps, paws at each other through the game, player PCs that are amorous towards each other in game, and so on, it is not fun for the others at the table, regardless of the other players' relationship statuses. Unless of course everyone at the table is just as randy as the couple; age, maturity levels and game focus are factors here.

As a kid I didn't like having couples at the table for just this reason. My own girlfriends in HS and college had strict rules to follow to join in a game. Now as a grown up I really don't run into this too much so, as I said above, I've had games with married couples and a dating couple in them.

Back on main topic. I completely agree. Seen my share of this. Also bad, is the member or a couple who comes to game because they refuse to do anything separate from their partner, but clearly has no interest in the game. Also, been hit on in character by somebody else's real life girlfriend. That was pretty creepy too. Fortunately, I was playing a primitive, slightly simple, and innocent barbarian, so I just refused to pick up on any of the cues.


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Sysryke wrote:
Artofregicide wrote:
Lemartes wrote:
Artofregicide wrote:

It may be worth mention the hobby was historically pretty unwelcoming to people who weren't straight cis white males, despite some of the fundamental forerunners being very much not male, not straight, not cis, and not white.

Never ever have I found this to be even remotely true.

Every group I've been in has never discriminated on anything but is this person going to be good to play with or not.

Not that I want to get into an argument about it or to have it derail the thread. Just my experience over a life time of gaming.

I'm glad for you! Overall, my personal experiences have not been so privileged. I don't know (or particularly care) what demographics you fall into, but there's a pretty significant chance that plays into it.

But data is not the plural of anecdote. And there is a consistent narrative of minorities who have been pushed away from the table, toxic players/GMs/groups, and discrimination in publishing. It does help that things have gotten a lot better, especially in the last decade as the hobby has gone far more mainstream.

I don't have to share someone's experience to acknowledge and respect it. But to deny that a problem existed and exists is just willful ignorance.

Hopefully you're not implying "Because I personally haven't been discriminated against, discrimination doesn't exist/ isn't a problem." and instead saying "I'm lucky not to have experienced this real and very tragic behavior that is indeed common in the hobby."

Just as one's personal experience of inclusivity is not data across the board, neither are anecdotes of prejudice or exclusion. Anecdotal evidence cuts both ways. To say that something is pervasive or systemic without actual statistical data to back it up, is a failing argument in either direction. Discrimination exists, fact. Random conjectures about its percentage of occurance does little to help solve the issue. I prefer to focus on the positives, and stamp...

I didn't claim that my personal anecdotes were at all too be considered evidence in this matter, if anything, -my experiences have been comparatively tame.

But to ignore the fact that it is a known and historical issue that has pervaded the hobby (calling it "random conjectures") is playing semantics and only a step above apologetics.

I'm not obligated to educate you or anyone else on this issue. Nor do your research for you - the data exists (and again, you have a search engine), but I'm not going to write a research paper for every random person who denies discrimination in the internet. You have internet access, there's even numerous threads on these very forums in which posters discuss the difficulties they've had have had with discrimination in the hobby. Even Paizo, the publisher of the game and owner of the site has numerous times recognized this publically.

To claim ignorance is only putting your head in the sand or being contrarian.

EDIT: I was wrong, you crossed the line into apologetics with your "...accepting the guilt that too many wish to blanket apply to all white men" line.


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Sysryke wrote:
Just as one's personal experience of inclusivity is not data across the board, neither are anecdotes of prejudice or exclusion. Anecdotal evidence cuts both ways. To say that something is pervasive or systemic without actual statistical data to back it up, is a failing argument in either direction. Discrimination exists, fact. Random conjectures about its percentage of occurance does little to help solve the issue. I prefer to focus on the positives, and stamp out the ugly bits when and where they rear their heads.

I appreciate the idea of anecdotal evidence being bad evidence and the fair-minded attitude of the fallacy of anecdotal evidence "cutting both ways." But in this case, I disagree with you. When it comes to people being made to feel unwelcome, anecdotal evidence carries weight.

If there is a bar you might go to, how many times do you need to be beaten up before you no longer feel welcome there? What if I were to tell you that in reality, only a small percentage of the patrons were of the beating-people-up mentality? And out of that small percentage, only a small percentage of those would beat you up simply because you were a ________ person?

What numbers would those percentages have to be before you would feel unwelcome? I think for most people, those numbers would be small because I think for most people, the answer to my first question is "one." Less than one. I think it would take a bar very few fights before it gets a reputation of a bar where fights happen.

That's an extreme example. In all my years of gaming, I was only targeted with physical violence once. It was during a Munchkin tournament. I played a bookmark that required a dance around a table to activate it, and the MiB presiding gave the other players permission to physically restrain me in my attempt to do so. I have a thick skin. I tend to wear such things as a badges of honor.

There was another incident where, at someone's house, one of the members of the group (who also lived there) thought it would be awesome to show off his new gun. That was not a propos of any threat or voice of disapproval, but I felt decidedly less comfortable.

But back to anecdotal evidence: I do believe, if you really wanted me to, I could go through just These Pathfinder Forums and bury a person in my "badges of honor." I guess you could argue that my body of anecdotes has aggregated into such a mass that it can no longer be called anecdotal evidence, and that would be fair to say.

But it would not be fair to say that my experience is not indicative of everyone's experience. I am telling you, as the target of hostility, that the tabletop roleplaying community is not a welcoming community. I know that because I am not welcome by some members of your community. You can argue that it has not been many, but it doesn't take many.

I invite you now to acknowledge this and

Sysryke wrote:
stamp out the ugly bits when and where they rear their heads.

or I dare you to join with the other gatekeepers and just try to keep this troll from passing into your gated community.

But I warn you, those munchkins failed to keep me from dancing around the table.


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For the record I'm not denying something exists. I made it clear that it was my experience in my first post.

However, I'm stating that as a whole and overall I don't think(yes think) that this hobby is unwelcoming and discriminatory based on race, sex, religion etc. etc.

I've never seen this at any table I played at or DM'd at.

Nor have I witnessed it at the many, many tables, games etc. I observed and whose players/dm's I spoke with.

I remember playing back in the days when you had to hide your books.

This is a game that was played more by those that were the outcasts or the unpopular. Many of which were playing a game to be someone else. Doesn't seem like a recipe for breeding exclusivity to me.

Further, I've seen nothing but non-whites, non-males etc. be welcomed with open arms.

My view is that the discrimination in this hobby is few and far between. Your mileage may vary.

I think that if you look for discrimination everywhere you'll find it everywhere real and imagined.

So I think(yes that word again) that my data is more accurate than it is inaccurate(based on all the people I've spoke with and observed as per above). I have no way to prove this. Your experience may be different and that is fine.

I will say that not playing with people who are a~*~&~+s, difficult to play with, different play style, poor hygiene etc. is fine.

I will also say that age is another metric by which you can exclude someone namely because some games are just not appropriate for the younger crowd.

This is going to be my last post in this thread as I'm just not interested in back and forth walls of text and thinking about this for hours ruining my day. Especially when tone and inflection are lost in text. This thread got derailed and I'm partially to blame. Apologies. With any luck it gets back on track. I wish you all happy and plentiful gaming even if you disagree with me. Ciao. :)


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Scott Wilhelm wrote:


I appreciate the idea of anecdotal evidence being bad evidence and the fair-minded attitude of the fallacy of anecdotal evidence "cutting both ways." But in this case, I disagree with you. When it comes to people being made to feel unwelcome, anecdotal evidence carries weight.

If there is a bar you might go to, how many times do you need to be beaten up before you no longer feel welcome there? What if I were to tell you that in reality, only a small percentage of the patrons were of the beating-people-up mentality? And out of that small percentage, only a small percentage of those would beat you up simply because you were a ________ person?

What numbers would those percentages have to be before you would feel unwelcome? I think for most people, those numbers would be small because I think for most people, the answer to my first question is "one." Less than one. I think it would take a bar very few fights before it gets a reputation of a bar where fights happen.

Your example here, would be analogous to a single game table, or perhaps a single game store. The bad elements of members of that location may very well keep you away, and they're frankly wrong. But, that experience does not accurately portray the culture of all bars/game shops everywhere in the world. The people committing the violence are at fault, but they do not, nor do they have any right to, speak or act for the community as a whole.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
That's an extreme example. In all my years of gaming, I was only targeted with physical violence once. It was during a Munchkin tournament. I played a bookmark that required a dance around a table to activate it, and the MiB presiding gave the other players permission to physically restrain me in my attempt to do so. I have a thick skin. I tend to wear such things as a badges of honor.

Those players/people were absolutely wrong. Just as wrong as the members of a local Star Wars guild that manhandled me into the charity jail of a local gaming convention. It was for charity, and somebody paid for it, but that did not excuse them putting their hands on my person without my consent. I went dead weight, and made those b*****ds carry me. Never let it happen again, but I don't blame the local community as a whole, nor did I avoid the rest of the convention. Those guild members were not part of the official convention staff. So, there's my badge of honor.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
There was another incident where, at someone's house, one of the members of the group (who also lived there) thought it would be awesome to show off his new gun. That was not a propos of any threat or voice of disapproval, but I felt decidedly less comfortable.

Sorry you felt uncomfortable there, but that has everything to do with the atmosphere, the host, and whatever you're own thought and feelings are about firearms. That has nothing to do with gaming. The fact that this event occurred at a time when you were there for game is coincidental. The gun could have been shown at a board game night, a group movie event, a dinner, or any other sort of house party. The issue is with the individual who brandished the firearm (in their own home if I read correctly), and neither they nor you knew enough of each other's feelings on the issue or (it appears) spoke about it. Nothing to do with gaming.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:

But back to anecdotal evidence: I do believe, if you really wanted me to, I could go through just These Pathfinder Forums and bury a person in my "badges of honor." I guess you could argue that my body of anecdotes has aggregated into such a mass that it can no longer be called anecdotal evidence, and that would be fair to say.

But it would not be fair to say that my experience is not indicative of everyone's experience. I am telling you, as the target of hostility, that the tabletop roleplaying community is not a welcoming community. I know that because I am not welcome by some members of your community. You can argue that it has not been many, but it doesn't take many.

A mass aggregate of anecdotal evidence does have some weight yes, but it still does not constitute proof of mass, systemic, or pervasive discrimination. To be clear, when I use those words, I see them as indicators of large numeric/statistical sums. People are free to debate where the number cut off is, but I mean 33% or more. This will vary from region to region, town to town, and even store to store. But if you take the gaming community as a whole, I'd be willing to bet it's not even close to 10%. This does not deny, or excuse the actions of those who discriminate in any way. But, I absolutely refuse to allow that their evil actions get to color and label everyone else in the community. You want to say there are unwelcoming elements in this community, fine, acknowledged. But, in no way does some=all. That's no more true than all churches are unwelcoming, or all men, all Germans, Americans, martial artists, academics, cross country enthusiats, etc. People aren't apples, and a few bad apples do not spoil the whole barrel in this case. Chuck the bad ones out, and enjoy the good fruit.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:

I invite you now to acknowledge this and

Sysryke wrote:


stamp out the ugly bits when and where they rear their heads.

or I dare you to join with the other gatekeepers and just try to keep this troll from passing into your gated community.

But I warn you, those munchkins failed to keep me from dancing around the table.

I'm no gatekepper, and I live in no gated community. I have never called or considered you a troll, nor Artofregicide for that matter. I have read, liked, and agreed with your posts in numerous threads, and will continue to do so.

I can, have, and do call out jerks, racists, discriminators, and general @**holes of all colors. I don't think either of you qualify for any of those appellations. The enjoyment I have for conversation and debate, as well as the respect I hold for you, and courtesy I believe all people are owed, is why I was willing to ride the D-rail on my own thread.

But, I will also call foul, every single time, when someone tries to use the actions of one, a few, or even a whole collective of wrongdoers, to paint, label, shame, or censure an entire community of predominantly peaceful, kind, creative, and goodly peoples. I'm rarely good at concise, and so clarity suffers sometimes in my posts. Lemartes said things quite well.

I don't believe there is any malice of ill intent on any party's part of this thread. I do see a difference in terms, experiences, and attitudes, which is all fine as long as we still try to communicate.

This last is more to @Artofregicide's post. I apologize for, and to no one, unless I have found myself in the wrong. But, I also can not, and will not apologize, for being anything I am, that is outside of my control, or that harms no one. I do not apologize for being a man, for being caucasion, for being Native American, any of my other bloodlines, for being gay, for being Catholic, for being a gamer, a gun owner, and American, or any of all the other things I am. Have there been, will there be, and are there currently evil members of all those groups, absolutely, but they are not me, I am not them. I act to stop them when and where I can, but I don't make the mistake of thinking or assuming that all of any group is bad.

Deepest respect and appreciation to you both, and all others who have posted on this thread. Thank you for you contributions, both on the OP, and the tangent. I hope we can proceed in some level of harmony.


Sysryke wrote:
Now, none of my group is super young any more. We're not elderly either, but all in our 30's to 40's. Is this just a symptom of where we are all at in our lives, or is our group odd?

That depends on how the people come together. If you search for fellow players among your peers, it's not surprising they are roughly your age. But if you use websites instead, you can suddenly end up with a huge bandwidth of age.

Which leads me to: Given our habits, we might never encounter certain tables. For example, I don't mind finding players among the friends of my friends, or even via the Internet. On the other hand, you will probably never see me at a PFS table, because I am not happy with their version of the rules. So no matter how many years I play or how many tables I join, my experiences will never be fully representative for the hobby.


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SheepishEidolon wrote:
Sysryke wrote:
Now, none of my group is super young any more. We're not elderly either, but all in our 30's to 40's. Is this just a symptom of where we are all at in our lives, or is our group odd?

That depends on how the people come together. If you search for fellow players among your peers, it's not surprising they are roughly your age. But if you use websites instead, you can suddenly end up with a huge bandwidth of age.

Which leads me to: Given our habits, we might never encounter certain tables. For example, I don't mind finding players among the friends of my friends, or even via the Internet. On the other hand, you will probably never see me at a PFS table, because I am not happy with their version of the rules. So no matter how many years I play or how many tables I join, my experiences will never be fully representative for the hobby.

Same mostly. I don't do society play, except maybe to drop in on a demo game at the occasional convention. Our group grew from a store game that led to friends, to a back room private game, new recruits from a local Con, friends of mine added who started dating (and later married) old gamers looking for new games, and then eventually home games. I hate it in a way because it sound vain, but I am actually the nucleus of the group. Everyone who has come to the tables or stuck with us has come through me.


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Sysryke wrote:

This last is more to @Artofregicide's post. I apologize for, and to no one, unless I have found myself in the wrong. But, I also can not, and will not apologize, for being anything I am, that is outside of my control, or that harms no one. I do not apologize for being a man, for being caucasion, for being Native American, any of my other bloodlines, for being gay, for being Catholic, for being a gamer, a gun owner, and American, or any of all the other things I am. Have there been, will there be, and are there currently evil members of all those groups, absolutely, but they are not me, I am not them. I act to stop them when and where I can, but I don't make the mistake of thinking or assuming that all of any group is bad.

Deepest respect and appreciation to you both, and all others who have posted on this thread. Thank you for you contributions, both on the OP, and the tangent. I hope we can proceed in some level of harmony.

First of all, I do appreciate your level-headedness, considering I wasn't particularly tactful. I also read into your words intent that was not there. For that, I am sorry.

I think you fundamentally misunderstand what I'm saying. This isn't about you, or me, or any one poster on this forum. I'm not looking for anyone to apologize for who they are (that's not what apologetics means, fyi. There's also a religious connotation to the word that I didn't intend - words, right?).

Nor do I think that the RPG community is somehow complicit and should be ashamed of the gatekeeping that existed (and to a lesser degree, does still exist). If anything, there's been a remarkable and admirable effort to bring everyone to the table.

But this doesn't change the fact that active disenfranchisement and gatekeeping was part of our hobby's history, even if any particular person wasn't complicit or witness to it. If anything, I've found a lot of toxic behavior is done out of the public eye or in such a way that it isn't perceived for what it is. Ultimately it doesn't matter how you or I feel - if a person was hurt by exclusionary behavior (intentional or not), that's what matters.

We must recognize that the problem a) existed and b) persists, not to wallow in guilt (even if by association) but to stay vigilant against it and to recognize the hardships that many in the hobby have endured (or those who left the hobby because of it).

There's a certain fatigue in explaining in detail an widely known and easily researchable issue that it's easy to write off. If this is something that interests you (and as a member of this community, it should) I encourage pursuing learning about it.

Thanks again.


@ArtofRegicide: I completely agree with you. I think the big contention here was either perceived tone on both our parts, and/or a difference in approach to terms. I never wish to deny, obscure, or bury history. Nor do I ever wish to condone any form of poor behavior. My only objective was to help highlight or keep in mind, all the places withing the hobby/community where good is flourishing.

Vigilance against evil is a must. I just hope and strive for the evil to not cast its shadow upon all of the good. It's the broad strokes or the over generalizing terms that I try to avoid. Maybe I'm still not saying it as clearly or well as I would like, but from what I understood of your post, I think we are in accord or at least understanding. Thank you for your words, and your vigilance.

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