Monkey’s Paw Games creator Nicholas Masyk wants more racism in The Witcher TRPG after claiming orcs are racist.

Masyk was one of the antagonists of the recent orcs are racist controversy and made repeated comments like “point out racism isn’t “the REAL” racism” you unseasoned saltines, and the language of racial otherness and oppression being used to describe non-human fantasy characters/races isn’t an accident.”

Related: Progressive ‘Nerd Culture’ Outlets and Table Top Creators Claim Depictions of Orcs are “Problematic” and “Racist”

Masyk would continue writing, “orcs aren’t human, so it’s okay to use dehumanizing/othering/racist language to describe them as subhuman’ is the same line that 6Fs used to justify using that same language on REAL people. ‘they aren’t human so it’s okay. they’re ‘savage.’ they’re ‘other.'”

He went on to write, “If you think it’s still okay in two thousand and twenty to justify race science, biological determinism and dehumanizing/degrading language to describe nonhuman fantasy species, or use racial tension as a plot point: give me a heads-up so I can ridicule you before I block you.”

He would then write, “I think the language used to describe fantasy orcs is the same language used to dehumanize black ppl.”

Related: Man Who Claimed Dungeon & Dragons’ Depiction Of Orcs Is Racist Admits “D&D Is Overwhelmingly Not My Game of Choice”

Now, Masyk is claiming he wants more racism in R. Talsorian Games’ The Witcher TRPG written by Cody Pondsmith and Lisa Pondsmith.

Masyk’s recent comments come after Twitter user @ammourazz shared a photo from The Witcher TRPG revealing a chart that shows how certain races are viewed within The Witcher franchise.

For fans unfamiliar with The Witcher series, the series examines themes of racism not based on characters’ skin color, but on their species and other features.  In fact, conflicts between species, humans, and non-humans can seen as a metaphor for racism in the series. For example, Geralt of Rivia is quite often discriminated against because he is a mutant.

Related: The Witcher Writer Beau DeMayo Says Gizmodo Writer Kristen Lopez is “Missing the Point” After She Accuses the Show of Ableism

Netflix’s The Witcher showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich succinctly explains, “The Witcher is REALLY interesting when it comes to depicting racism because it’s about species, not skin color.”

She adds, “What makes characters “other” is the shape of their ears, height, etc. In the books, no one pays attention to skin color. In the series… no one does either. Period.”

Masyk would respond to this chart writing, “I feel like these games don’t lean into the racial hatred ENOUGH. If we’re finna talk about how much I’m hated in the north for being an elf, I want to know the degree for which I’m hated. This game has a 30-step flowchart for hitting someone with a sword, I want one for racism.”

Masyk would then ask, “Why is it fantastic racism is SO NECESSARY to have a game that feels gritty & real but every game like this spends less time on the impact of that racism than inventory management?”

Related: Psychology Professor Chris Ferguson Accused Of Slavery Apologism And White Supremacy For Arguing Orcs Are Not Racist

Twitter user @Ammourazz would respond indicating that there is indeed a chart detailing how characters are treated based on certain markers they can obtain such as Equal, Tolerated, Feared, and Hated.

After advocating for leaning more into the racism of the game, the conversation turned towards the creators of the game, Cody Pondsmith and Lisa Pondsmith.

As the discussion continued forward it not only turned into a rediculous complaint about factors of racism, later proven to be in the game but then devolved into some shots against Table Top RPG legend Mike Podsmith’s Son, who was part of the two-man design team of the game.

Twitter user @Ammourazz would share a photo featuring the writers’ names.

He would go on to point out that R. Talsorian Games was founded by Mike Pondsmith, the creator of Cyberpunk 2020, Mekton, and Castle Falkenstein and that Lisa is his wife and Cody is his son.

Monkey’s Paw would respond to this referencing a meme popularized by Issa Rae.

Others in the conversation would take issue with Pondsmith and his family due to a section of the rulebook for Cyberpunk 2020 describing the future of America in the roleplaying game.

Related: Cyberpunk 2020 Creator Mike Pondsmith Responds to Cyberpunk 2077 Transgender Controversy

Their conversation appears to insinuate that Pondsmith by writing this rulebook and his family, by association to him, are likely to be racist.

YouTuber Comix Division stated, “I find this really f***ing amusing because presumably this is a white woman telling a black man how he should think.”

He continues, “So there is thing called agency, maybe you’ve heard of it? It’s something that everybody has including black people. Basically what it means they can figure out on their own what’s best for them.”

“And in this particular instance it means that Mike Pondsmith is free to create his roleplaying game the way he sees fit. Without you telling him what is best for his own f***ing RPG. And god forbid that Mike’s agency comes into conflict with your ideological views,” Comix Division concludes.

The entire conversation is an example of how elements of progressive nerd culture either don’t know or understand elements of franchises they wish to co-opt.

For example, the universe of The Witcher as mentioned earlier, deals with themes of xenophobia, racism, classism, and an overreaching oligarchy that breaks people; while pointing at the other as the true cause of their problems, which in turn drives the hate for non-humans.

For those who champion beliefs that are supposed to address all of this, it’s shocking that they’re so dense. The Brotherhood alone in that universe as well as the genocide of the elven people should have been enough to signal the intent of the overall story.

Related: RockPaperShotgun Founder Claimed Cyberpunk 2020 Creator Mike Pondsmith Made “A Bad Argument Regarding Racist Tropes”

As for their comments on Mike Pondsmith and his family, it’s nothing new. In June 2019, RockPaperShotgun published an opinion piece on CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077, which is based on Pondsmith’s Cyberpunk tabletop roleplaying game.

In the op-ed they took issue with a group of gangsters found within the game called the VooDoo Boys and how they talked and were portrayed as violent gangsters. RockPaperShotgun writer Matt Cox would declare that due to this portrayal it made him “increasingly concerned about Cyberpunk’s handling of non-white cultures.”

Pondsmith would eventually respond to the article on Reddit and its criticism of the VooDoo Boys. He wrote, “The original Voodoo Boys were a scathing commentary on cultural appropriation. I LOVE the idea that real practicioners of Voudon moved in and took back their turf. And they even got the Creole right!”

In a separate thread he would also write, “Want to say this just once. I am really tired of well meaning people on internet chat boards paternalistically telling me what I, as a black person, should be offended by. You want to be my ally? Go gird up your loins and at this year’s Thanksgiving dinner, have the nerve to tell your racist Uncle Bob to STFU for a change.”

Pondsmith’s response would draw the attention of RockPaperShotgun founder John Walker. Walker claimed Pondsmith’s defense of The Animals, another gang found within the game, was racist. (Archive link: https://archive.fo/vYErc)

He would go on to describe Pondsmith as making a “bad argument regard racist tropes.”

 

This again, I believe, gives credit to what Sophia Narwitz said during the Orcs controversy earlier this month. It’s time to bring back gatekeeping to protect our hobbies. Not only are these elements of progressive nerd culture ignorant of even the most basic themes of some of these games, but they also attack those they don’t agree with.

We’ve already seen what these types of people have done to franchises such as Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Marvel Comics, and other fandoms. It’s time to push back and ensure they can’t do it to others.

What do you think of all of this? What is your take on the continued attack on all of these fandoms?

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  • About The Author

    Jorge Arenas
    Resident Star Trek Specialist/ Writer

    If Starfleet were real his career would be in a much different place. Currently, he specializes in all things Star Trek. He loves DC but has a soft spot for Deadpool.

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