A player-curated list of table-top RPG companies, organized based on each entrant’s respective focus on ensuring that their games adhere to critical social justice theory, has sparked discourse among a number of the entities featured in the document.
Created by TheRPGSITE forum member Ocule on August 3rd following his own “thinking on the topic of fighting back and not giving money to people that hate you,” the “TTRPG Guide to Woke Companies” is intended to serve as “a compilation list of companies and rpgs that are woke, those that sit on the fence and those that are not,” with the creator further noting that the list “might be helpful when looking at various rpgs to know what you are getting into before you buy in.”
“I’ve watched major companies, such as wizards of the coast employees engage in harassment and doxxing campaigns, and others interfering with the ability of other creators to get their games on shelves and finally had enough,” wrote Ocule in a foreword to his list. “This is for my own love of gaming and the hobby. I would ask anyone who reads this to not reach out to the creators you don’t agree with. Let them do their thing, and if this list helps you make a decision or discover a new game you didn’t know existed then it has done its job.”
The list, which as of writing currently exists as a living, regularly-updated document, organizes TTRPG companies into three categories – green, yellow, and red – based on “which companies [other players suggested] were ethical, and decidedly apolitical and why they felt that way.”
“The Green category was for game companies that maintained a stance of neutrality, were pro free speech and are generally friendly regardless of anyone’s political persuasion,” explained Ocule. Entities such as Arion Games, Whitebox: FAMG, and the newly revived TSR games are currently grouped under this banner.
“The yellow category,” said Ocule, “was intended to be more questionable, where a publisher or creator may have engaged in questionable practices but doesn’t appear to make a habit of it, whether unintentional or simply well intentioned but may have either sent the wrong message or was exercising restraint.” The ‘yellow’ section of the list currently includes Cubicle 7, Edge Studios, and Heroforge Miniatures.
As for “the red list,” which Ocule noted was what “this document has become infamous for,” this category is reportedly “reserved for bad actors” and “entities who have caused harm to people or businesses, have a hostile stance to those of differing ideological views or in general have engaged in anti-consumer practices.”
According to the list, this is the category where entities such as Gencon, Paizo, and Wizards of the Coast reside.
Related: Ernie Gygax Jr. Claims Wizards Of The Coast Acted Like “Corporate Raiders” Towards Dungeons & Dragons, Criticizes Current Tabletop Trend Of Pushing Out Players Who Do Not Follow ‘Modern Trends’
Though the list was made over a month ago, it was recently brought to widespread attention by a handful of Twitter users, including @Shinto_Nephilim, who shared the list to their followers and stated, “We’ve not made it onto the red list yet… we need to work harder.”
“We’d be in good company, honestly,” they added. “Most of the ones we see on the red list is good company. Most on the green is already on our ban list.”
Following the resurfacing of the list, a number of other TTRPG affiliates began to voice their support for being included in the ‘red list,’ with many seeing their inclusion as a badge of honor.
Pookie, owner of R’yleh Reviews and an editor on the TTRPG Zweinhander, described the list as “a guide to gaming if you are racist, anti-Woke, misogynist, and INTOLERANT,” and asserted that it was “as ill-informed and as vile as you would expect.”
“The ‘TTRPG woke red list’ is what all good #TTRPG designers should aspire to,” said former Magic: The Gathering contributor Dennis Detwiller.
Through Ultan’s Door author Ben Laurence, who was included in the list’s ‘green’ category, adamantly refuted his placement, writing, “This author’s list seems to have some mistakes on it. Let me fix it for them.”
“Black Lives Matter,” he continued. “Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Gaming is for everyone. Inclusion of marginalized voices in gaming is crucial.”
Though the company was not included in Ocule’s list, the official Twitter account for Witch & Craft Games attempted to ingratiate themselves into the controversy, declaring, “‘red’ doesn’t even begin to describe us and were we even on the ‘red’ page we’d ask for a ‘redder’ section to be added for people like us, who will gladly beat a fascist into the ground with a copy of any of our books.”
What do you make of both Ocule’s list and the reaction to its curation? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!