Macklemore is pretty awesome – almost as awesome as coming out of the closet.

So you’ve probably heard the song “Thrift Shop” by now.  If you haven’t, click here and fix your life.

But Michaelyn had me listen to another one of Macklemore’s songs this morning that made me realize how great this goofball rapper really is.  The song is “Same Love”:

People are coming around quickly on gay marriage.  There’s still a long way to go, of course.  Consider this touching story of a college student who came out of the closet and thought his father might disown him.  Spoiler on the ending:

On Sunday my parents dropped me off at the train station so that I could return to Milwaukee. They both hugged me and told me that they love me. About three hours later I was back home in Milwaukee, and I got a text from my mom that read, “Your dad has funny ways of showing he loves you. Look in your backpack.” Here’s what was tucked inside, between two Pathfinder rulebooks:


On the back it says, “I will always love you, no matter what.”

It’s a good ending, but it’s not enough.  Russell Glasser of Atheist Experience and Freethoughtblogs fame left a comment on this article when I posted it on facebook which sums it up perfectly:

That is a happy ending… but it will be a REALLY happy ending when the response is “Great to hear that, son. Glad you’re comfortable with your identity.”

“I will love you no matter what” is a good compromise, but it is still treating being gay as basically identical to the son confessing that he’s done something dumb, like flunked out of school or started smoking crack.

But that sentiment will dissipate over time as the father sees his son happy in his own skin.  Eventually it will sink in that his son’s homosexuality was a part of the man this father loved all along, not something that corrupted his son.

Now read it again and imagine that, instead of announcing he was gay, that his son had come out of the closet as an atheist.  When I win a debate, it’s often chalked up to me being a good debater rather than their commitment to an indefensible position.  But when someone a person loves and admires is happy as something that person thought they despised…that can’t be ignored.  That’s when we change minds.

Coming out of the closet can be a nightmare.  However, if you want it to be a nightmare of which future generations are spared, then right here, right now, is very much the time to be brave.  We will catch you.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • SparkyB

    I think there’s more than one way to read “I will love you no matter what”. You seem to assume it means, I’ll love you despite this flaw you have just revealed to me, which makes it sound like the father doesn’t approve of homosexuality but loves his son anyway. I think that it may be more about the process of coming out than what he was coming out about. The father may be totally fine with his son being gay but also reassuring his son that even if he wasn’t happy with it, that’s no reason to fear being open and honest about it. That’s a statement that applies not to just to coming out as gay which is already behind them, but their relationship going forward.

    • Nate Frein

      Dan Savage made a really strong case for how “I will love you no matter what” comes across exactly as JT described in this episode of the Savage Lovecast.

      And really, think about how this sounds. What goes after “I will love you no matter what”? It’s “Even if”.

      Even if you don’t get a high paying job.
      Even if you do something bad and get in trouble.
      Even if you are gay.

      So JT’s right. It’s progress, yes. But what we really want is for the son or daughter to not even have to worry about hearing “I will love you no matter what” because they see their parents treating their gay friends with the same respect as they treat their straight friends and because they know even before they come out that the only thing they’ll hear is “When are you finally going to bring your boyfriend/girlfriend around to meet us?”

    • Loqi

      It may well be true that the father meant it that way, but it’s still off the mark. The fact that the son was worried about it means at least one of two things: he was worried that his father might be the kind of person who would..shall we say “disapprove” of his orientation, or the societal bigotry is so strong that he thought even a loving father could turn into a slobbering bigot over it. In either case, a response like Russell’s is superior because it doesn’t just take that huge worry about his father off his shoulders. It also chips away at the feeling that a huge number of people hate him because of who he is. “I love you no matter what” helps him. “Good to hear that” helps him *and* helps the entire cause of equality.

  • Art Vandelay

    Yeah, it’s progress but I completely agree with Russell on this one.

  • Stogoe

    Pathfinder? Blech. It’s like the game designers took a look at 3e, at all that had been built before them, the wretched, grotesque, completely unbalanceable, incompetently spandrelled, shuddering abomination of a rules system and said, “So what? It’s what we’ve gotten used to. Let’s just repackage this incoherent mess and sell others’ work for our own profit.”

    • Robert B.

      To be fair, starting from scratch is, like, actual work. A lot of it.

    • M

      I like Pathfinder quite a bit. I liked 3.0 and 3.5 quite a bit too. Neither game is perfect, of course, but i like the rules details and mathy bits and ways to squeeze out one little bit more advantage and play the odds, but tip them in your favor. There’s nothing like the look on a DM’s face that says, “you did WHAT now?”

      3.5 did have some pretty bad bits (grapple rules *shudder*). Pathfinder fixed some of the worst ones. PF does have its own flaws, including some pretty stunning class imbalances (fighters are better than everyone else, rogues are unplayably bad). Still, my group and I are having a lot of fun with it, and I’ll thank you not to tell people that they’re having fun wrong.

      • Robert B.

        No one said anything about having fun wrong. It was a critique of the game system, just like yours except more vehement. We have to be able to critique game design or we’ll never produce better games.

        • M

          Oh, sure. But measured critique looks like “the rules were too complicated, the grapple rules especially sucked, the base classes were pretty good, and there were too many prestige classes”. It doesn’t look like “the rules sucked! The game sucked!”.

          “[T]he wretched, grotesque, completely unbalanceable, incompetently spandrelled, shuddering abomination of a rules system” is a rant, not constructive criticism. What, exactly, was wrong with it and what needed to be fixed? Nate Frein’s criticism of 4e is actual game design constructive criticism: it lacked support for roleplay, it felt like a combat simulator instead of an RPG. That tells a game designer some specific areas that need more work. If he’d said “I didn’t like 4e, it was unbalanceable and the rules were all awful!”, that doesn’t give a designer anything to really work off of. Unbalanced I can fix, unbalanceable says scrap the whole thing and start over, which is … not generally helpful.

          • Nate Frein

            I’ve played 1e, 2e, 3.0/3.5 and just started playing a pathfinder campaign after a fairly long hiatus from table-top RPGs (I love roll20). I had tried 4e for a little bit (never invested in the books) but it felt like a clumsy attempt at building an MMO for tabletops.

            I’ll be honest…I think nitpicking over balance for tabletop gaming with friends is silly. A comfortable balance is going to be different from group to group. This isn’t an MMORPG. A group is going to want to pick a game system that suits them, whether its Shadowrun, Pathfinder, Exalted, GURPS, Traveller, or w/e. 4e was not, in my mind, Dungeons and Dragons (if anything it took the essence of the game back to Chainmail). I don’t really care how balanced the system is if it doesn’t provide the mechanics I want to do what I want.

            (Did I establish my nerd cred?)

          • Nate Frein

            Ugh. I keep going back to

            the wretched, grotesque, completely unbalanceable, incompetently spandrelled, shuddering abomination

            I can’t help but wonder…did you PLAY 2e or 1e? If you go through the rulesbooks for 1e over time you see how every time a different DM needed a mechanic to accomplish something they pulled a different system out of their ass. Hence Non-weapon proficiencies working on a completely different system from weapon proficiencies AND thief skills. Saving throws working completely differently than THAC0. Anyone remember having 18/xx STR? Oh, and how about after Unearthed Arcana came out and Paladins became a subset of the Cavalier class! Talk about OP! And how each different class had separate xp scales? So while a 9th level mage might blow away a 9th level fighter, if the fighter actually had the same amount of xp as the mage, he’d be, like, level 13?

            And when they went to 2nd ed, instead of taking all these disparate rules and finding a way to universalize them, they just crammed them all together in one book and called the job done?

            If you want to argue that GURPS or Earthdawn or MERP/FRP did a better, more balanced fantasy RP system, do so. But don’t bloody say that compared to what “came before”, 3e was a “wretched, grotesque, completely unbalanceable, incompetently spandrelled, shuddering abomination”.

          • Feminerd

            Well, I’m an amateur developer. Mostly PF stuff. And my big thing is balance- mechanics are really important, but Paizo did a pretty good job on the basic mechanics, so I don’t have to focus as much on them. Where they fell down was on balance, and I do think it’s a critical part of having fun. If someone is just way better than someone else, and it’s built into the game that way, neither is having as much fun as if they were approximately on par.

            So the fact that sorcerers are just straight up worse than wizards, mechanically speaking? That bugs me a lot. Sorcerers work differently from wizards, and sometimes I want to play one, but I don’t want to hurt my party by playing a weaker class. The fact that fighters are just better than every other melee/physical damage class in the game? That’s not an acceptable outcome. Every time I want to play any whack-things-with-a-pointy-stick characters, I always go back to “but I could be a fighter and do it better”. You can’t ever get it perfect, and sometimes things will slip through, but you should at least try for balance. It’s just math!

          • M

            ^^ is me. Cache got wiped and I picked the wrong name.

          • Robert B.

            “Unbalanceable” is a thing that actually exists. AD&D 2′s nonweapon proficiencies were unbalanceable – the way they used attributes was so different from the way the rest of the game used attributes that no amount of tweaking the numbers was going to make it balanced. They actually did need to scrap that whole system and start over. That’s one of the toughest parts about game design – you have to be willing to trash things when they don’t work.

          • Nate Frein


            I have the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Dungeoneer’s Survival Guide and Wilderness Survival Guide that introduced Non-Weapon Proficiencies boxed away somewhere in an attic.

          • Robert B.


            Well, if you want to compare the relative size of respective Nerd Genitalia…

            I own, and have run, Keep on the Borderlands. I also attended my first session of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (to paraphrase Mr. Scott, “no bloody 2, 3, 3.5 or 4″) at the tender age of -20 hours, as my dad ran a solo adventure for my mom to distract her from the pain of labor. Mom played a hot-tempered paladin, if I remember the family stories correctly, which is how I know it was Advanced and not Basic. I played in another 1e campaign of my dad’s starting at age 4, and ran three multi-year campaigns in 2e as a teenager. “Wilderness Survival Guide” sounds familiar, and I could only have seen it leafing through Dad’s shelf, so I probably stand to inherit a copy.

            And Stogoe wasn’t saying that 3e was worse than editions of D&D that came before it, they were saying that Pathfinder looked at 3e that came before Pathfinder, and rather than starting over with something original that might be truly better, settled for borrowing wholesale from D&D, with all its host of legacy problems and only incremental improvements.

          • Nate Frein

            Well, if you want to compare the relative size of respective Nerd Genitalia…

            Nah, just shooting the shit at this point.

            And Stogoe wasn’t saying that 3e was worse than editions of D&D that came before it, they were saying that Pathfinder looked at 3e that came before Pathfinder, and rather than starting over with something original that might be truly better, settled for borrowing wholesale from D&D, with all its host of legacy problems and only incremental improvements.

            This has been hashed out, thanks. You may have picked up how he intended the message, but two of us didn’t. Also, it’s still kind of wrong. Pathfinder filled a niche and provided a product that Wizards effectively stopped offering.

          • Robert B.

            Sorry to bring it back up, then, my mistake. And I was going to keep waving the flag for originality, but since I’ve been feeling a hopeless nostalgic urge for something D&D-esque lately, I have to admit the reality of the niche you speak of.

    • Nate Frein

      Compared to what, though? Compared to 2e, 3.o/3.5 was a breath of fresh air, and 4e comes across to me as not much more than a combat simulator. I didn’t really feel like 4e had any kind of depth of support for actual roleplay. I mean, it’s not shadowrun…but it’s also a lot easier to pick up and run with…

      • Stogoe

        I started with 3e in college, and for the life of the system, I lived and breathed 3e. I hacked it apart and built a gestalt npc class version of 3e when I was unemployed for three months after college. I did so in (and only partially succeeded at) an attempt to rebalance fighters and spellcasters. I never understood or liked the fact that in 3e (and presumably previous editions) you had to be a spellcaster if you wanted to do anything cool or significant. My min/maxed thrikreen epic rogue/ninja of the crescent moon could hit 16 times a round and deal 80d6 sneak attacks with each hit, but it was my one trick and even so it was still just standing in one place and rolling a d20 a bunch of times. Every spellcaster had dozens of equally powerful tricks, and hundreds more on top of that.

        As for the ‘MMORPG’ whine, I don’t need mechanics to ‘let’ me roleplay. I only need mechanics for combat, and 4e finally gave me what I was looking for in an rpg – a system where a fighter gets as many cool options as a spellcaster. As a gamist/narrativist, I don’t want the rules of the game to attempt to simulate the physics of the universe. But I do want to be able to contribute even if I want to play a non-spellcaster.

        Bottom line, 4e gives me what I want out of a D&D system. I don’t have any need to pick up any other fantasy setting RPGs, even the Next! edition WotC puts out, from what I’ve seen is an attempt to reintroduce the things I deliberately left behind when I abandoned 3.x.

        • M

          Fair enough. I did not enjoy 4e (I tried it several times, with several different groups). My general feel of it was that it was an excellent tactical minis game if you like Vancian wizard types, but it wasn’t my cup of tea. I’m glad you’re having fun with it, though. Nerds unite and, uh, roll d20s together or something!

          • Stogoe

            I don’t exclusively play 4e. My group has two games that trade off weeks – I’m wrapping up a BPRD-style NWoD game next week, and I’ve run the Firefly game before as well. I also own the Stargate SG-1 game based on d20 modern and a LOTR one that uses the same system as Decipher’s Star Trek game (which I wish I owned).

          • M

            Oh, if we’re comparing nerd-cred:

            I’m currently playing in a 2300 game, which is based off Mongoose’s Traveler system. I’ve played a few White Wolf games (Mage, Exalted), the Dresden Files game (based off the FATE system), and L5R (Lord of the Five Rings). A few other home-brew GURPs one-shots too. Heck, we’re playing through the Descent campaign right now too, though that’s more a board game and less an RPG.

            Overall, I’ve enjoyed 3.5/Pathfinder the most. It’s not from lack of trying other RPG systems though. We can unite and roll d6s, d10s, and d20s if that makes you feel better.

          • Nate Frein

            I wouldn’t mind getting in on a Traveller campaign. I love the character generation system…you roll with what you get. There’s very little room for min-maxing.

          • M

            Traveller is a lot of fun. Not only is it hard to min-max, sometimes your characters just develop totally differently than you expected. It’s easy to fail out of a career- well there goes my super military person, ze got kicked out. Now what? You can see a lifetime of experiences accumulate, which gives each character some … heft, for lack of a better term.

            I will say that the actual gameplay can be kind of clunky. It’s also a very deadly game- most attacks will hit, and they will hurt a lot. It’s easy to die. The character-generation game is tons of fun; the actual playing depends a lot, as always, on DM and other players.

          • Nate Frein

            I don’t know if “clunky” is the right word, but if you want complicated combat, I haven’t found a combat style more complex than Shadowrun. I was lucky when I started the game was run by a GM who handled that shit quickly and efficiently. I remember getting halfway through an entire page dedicated to calculating the path of bullets fired at full auto in an arc (“walking” the fire from target to target) before wondering what I was really getting into. Then I got to the page — again, an entire page — on how mirrors complicated line-of-sight issues for magic.

            Fun game, but not for an inexperienced role-player.

          • M

            Yeah, we started a Shadowrun campaign at one point. And then stopped again. It wasn’t that any of us were inexperienced, but it just … wasn’t clicking for the group. The overly complicated combat certainly wasn’t helping things, though.

            I liked the Warhammer 40k RPG’s combat system. Percentiles are fun.

          • Nate Frein

            I very much enjoy Shadowrun, but the entire group really needs to know what they’re doing in order to play it well. There’s explicit rules for just about everything, and when you know what you’re doing, it allows you to very fluidly move from any situation to just about any other situation.

            The game was, very much, a labor of love. The real world knowledgebase that went into the game was astounding.

        • Nate Frein

          So 4e is fine for you and fine for what you want to do.

          Good on you. Enjoy it.

          But I disagree. A warrior with 8 charisma, 6 intelligence, and 9 wisdom has no business fast talking his way past a gold dragon. A bard played well, on the other hand, should have the option of getting past the encounter without any combat at all.

          I think you and I want fundamentally different things from roleplaying. If I want pure fantasy combat simulation, I hop on WoW. Computers do that shit so much better and efficiently than I can.

          I despise metagaming. I get very bored very quickly waiting while someone pulls out their spreadsheets to decide what feat, or what class level, or what magic item, gives them the “best advantage” for whatever.

          For me, the point of tabletop (or virtual table top via something like Roll20) is having the mechanics to assume another persona. And for me, the question of whether I can bluff, con, haggle, pick pocket, disarm a trap, grapple up a wall, or sneak through a crowded hallway is important. The consequences of attempting are important. Rolling a natch 1 on an attack can be interesting. Rolling a natch 1 on an attempt to charm a dragon, on the other hand, can be downright hilarious. Arbitrarily deciding how out-of-combat events play out absolutely ruins the verisimilitude of the experience.

          So, why is this more than just friendly conversation about what we prefer in our games? Well, lets go back to this comment.

          It’s like the game designers took a look at 3e, at all that had been built before them

          You’ve now established you have no experience with the systems that predate 3e.

          the wretched, grotesque, completely unbalanceable, incompetently spandrelled, shuddering abomination of a rules system

          You make a lot of angry value judgements over the quality of the game without establishing any baseline to compare it to. Then you accuse me of “whining” when I observe that 4e feels like an MMORPG.

          “So what? It’s what we’ve gotten used to. Let’s just repackage this incoherent mess and sell others’ work for our own profit.”

          And then you simply insult the people behind it.

          So here’s the thing: You yourself admit that 4e is a radically different game from 3e. You yourself admit that 4e does not offer more than combat mechanics. From that point, it’s easy to reason that many players who enjoyed 3e may not enjoy 4e, leaving a market niche to take advantage of the GPL to re-create the feel of 3e.

          I have played:

          Call of Cthulu
          Call of Cthulu d20
          D20 modern
          D20 future
          Dungeons and Dragons
          Advanced Dungeons and Dragons
          ADnD 2e
          BESM d20
          Middle Earth Role-Playing (MERP) (Which is actually a subset of “Fantasy Role Playing or FRP).

          I’m also familiar with (but have not played) Traveller and Gurps.

          I say that from my experience, 3e (and now pathfinder) offers a relatively easy to pick up, robust fantasy RP system that allows for a full range of storytelling options.

          Not everyone wants what you want. I have never had a problem doing “cool” things on a fighter, or a paladin, or a sorcerer, or a ranger. Just because you do not care for that style of RP does not make pathfinder a

          wretched, grotesque, completely unbalanceable, incompetently spandrelled, shuddering abomination of a rules system

          • Nate Frein

            Oh, and just to clarify…when I say I played Dungeons and Dragons, I mean Dungeons and Dragons. As in, the direct successor to Chainmail. Where elf, dwarf, and halfling were classes.

          • M

            Heh. I started playing right when 3.0 shifted to 3.5. I missed out on THAC0 , class-dependent XP levels, and other rules messes of earlier (thank goodness). I’ve heard the horror stories! Which is not to say people didn’t love AD&D or 2nd Ed. They did. But as a gamer, I’m glad design has moved past those.

          • Stogoe

            I have no experience with pathfinder. I have no experience with 1e, 2e, ad&d, red box, Chainmail, gurps, fatal, etc. My comments were meant to be limited to 3rd edition and its reboot 3.5. “all that had come before it” was intended to refer only to the 3rd edition ruleset, and if that wasn’t how it was read, I apologize. I don’t have any* experience with pre-3e so it’s easy for me to not take into account previous editions.

            I used to refer to Pathfinder as the “sour grapes” roleplaying game, because the people who used the d20 srd to publish pathfinder did so as a direc reaction to the deliberate changes that wotc made for 4e. I have no desire to go back to ’3e, only more 3e-ier”, but I know that some people do. It’s why D&D Next is already on the horizon – 4e failed to meet the sales projections of “all the gamers everywhere will buy everything we put out and also they will each buy their individual $10/month subscription to our poor quality fanzine content.”

            My brain ran on 3e for a decade and I’m exhausted by the thought of trying to go back.

            *besides two or three aborted attempts to play Baldur’s Gate before giving up in frustration before leaving Candlekeep.

          • Stogoe

            I think I’ve played BESM, or at least read through the manual a bunch. Played Mage and Changeling a lot in college, though never vampire or werewolf.

            My very first game I played was Deadlands, with pregen characters, before I even knew what a roleplaying game was.

          • Nate Frein

            No harm, no foul. You feel about going back to 3e the way I feel about going back to 2e. But it is a legitimate choice — you cannot reasonably argue that 3e and 4e are the same games. And I hope you understand how M and I felt that you were saying we were “doing fun wrong”.

          • Nate Frein

            Heh. I started playing right when 3.0 shifted to 3.5. I missed out on THAC0 , class-dependent XP levels, and other rules messes of earlier (thank goodness). I’ve heard the horror stories! Which is not to say people didn’t love AD&D or 2nd Ed. They did. But as a gamer, I’m glad design has moved past those.

            I came back to Dungeons and Dragons about the time 3.5 came out. I’d actually gotten fed up with 3e and shifted to World of Darkness (plus I was emo and liked playing a gangrel. I was such a stereotype D:). My only disappointment with 3.5 was that I had to recreate Tony Diterlizzi’s vision of Planescape almost from scratch (now that is just me whining :3).

            You have to understand…my dad got me into Harpoon and DnD when I was in first grade. My favorite way to create a DnD character is still to just go down the list with 3d6. No “4d6 and drop the lowest”. No “roll it six times and pick what stats you wanna put ‘em in”. Just roll ‘em in order and see what you get. I like it because the stats I get help me to start shaping who the character is.

          • M

            Yeah, I started playing in college. A bunch of friends played in high school, but I was always going to debate tournaments on weekends so I didn’t have time to play with them. I *ahem* have always been a bit on the nerdy side.

            I like point buys. Because balance is important to me, I don’t like the randomness of 3d6 or even 4d6/drop low. If one person has the equivalent of a 30 point buy and the other has the equivalent of a 7 point buy and there’s two others with ~15-20 point buys … it’s not going to be fun for anyone. Everything is either too easy for the lucky one or insta-gibs the unlucky one. As a DM, there is no way I want to design encounters for that party. I mean, hell, just designing encounters is already really hard. I see no reason to make it harder on myself!

          • Nate Frein

            It all depends on how you approach the gameplay. The point for me, and the people I play with, isn’t to “win” the encounters. The point is to tell a shared story, and as such verisimilitude is important. Life doesn’t give you a “point buy” system when you’re bored. My greatest memories aren’t “Hey, remember that fight with so and so that was so excellently crafted and balanced?” but “Hey, remember when your monk made an ill-thought out wish in the battle for our city to bring the soldiers back to life, and they all came back undead?” or “Hey, remember that time you botched a survival check and led us straight into an ettin’s lair?”

            So what if the group wasn’t strong enough to beat the uber boss at the end? It probably made for an epic story and a wonderful motivation to roll some new characters and seek out revenge. So what if the fighter doesn’t have quite the innate flashies that the wizard does when she can charge in and cut a bloody swath through hordes of enemies? And if the difference is big enough I can slip her an intelligent weapon to give her some more RP hooks. If the sorcerer is feeling underpowered I can give him a free martial weapon proficiency and light armor proficiency and reduce his arcane failure chance and watch him have a blast playing a combat caster.

            And again, this is why I play tabletop, and these are the groups of people I look for to play with. And from that perspective, I find Pathfinder to be a very good platform to fall back on.

            I’m not trying to knock what you (M and Stogoe) enjoy. Just offering a defense of the platform from my perspective.

          • M

            Oh yes, I definitely didn’t mean to knock your experience either, if it came across that way. We’re all looking for different gaming experiences. We go in with different expectations, different backgrounds, and different emphases on aspects of gaming. I, too, love epic storytelling and the “remember when …” moments. I can still reduce a whole group of people in their mid-to-late-twenties into sniggering idiots with the phrase “Rawr rawr. RAWR RAWR”. See, we had a bear (who was actually a shape-shifted druid) with a super high Spot check, and he could see invisible things if they were bad at hiding, but bears can’t talk, so when he saw a room full of invisible things he had to somehow emphasize that there wasn’t just one invisible creature but MANY and … you know what, you had to be there :).

            We have different views of the relative roles of the base rules and DM homebrew, and that’s ok. I started out in the RPGA, which had to be standardized because it was international, so we were stuck with flawed rules if the rules were flawed. Thus, I place a very high premium on getting the rules right in the first place. That’s not the Right Way of doing it. There isn’t a Right Way to do it. It’s just where I come from when it comes to RPGs.

          • Nate Frein

            A lot of my early RPing years were spent as part of a large group that met every saturday. Every other week was dedicated to an entire-group RP game with a GM who rotated amongst volunteers. And we played what the GM wanted to play. It wasn’t so much “round table” but “classroom”, with as many as twenty players and the GM at a whiteboard. It worked because the people who volunteered all had a very good working knowledge of the games they picked from, and the less experienced players were often paired up with more experienced players to help smooth things along. And on off weeks we broke up and did smaller games, or card games like Jyhad or M:TG (4th edition had just came out to give you a sense of the timeline).

            I definitely understand where you’re coming from with RPGA. That’s a craving I satisfy when I raid in WoW. When I tabletop RP, the exact balances between the classes isn’t as important as having a framework in place to arbitrate everything, not just combat. A good GM adjusts balance on the fly to suit the needs of the game, but without the framework to adjudicate non-combat actions you’re limiting your options. You can ignore everything outside of combat, which makes the game pointless for me. You can have the GM decide the success or failure arbitrarily, which starts to feel like the GM is railroading the narrative, which destroys the whole “shared storytelling experience”. Or you can just decide the characters can do whatever the players think they can do, which negates the randomness and the chance for improvising when things just don’t go as expected. I mentioned the fun of a natch 1 on a bluff check? There’s also the fun of a natch 20 on an action that you don’t think will work.

          • Stogoe

            My earliest roleplaying experiences were with a group email list with 30-50 members doing freeform roleplaying in the Redwall setting. It was engrossing and massive, but I eventually quit in frustration that there wasn’t any good way to handle battle scenes (or any major conflict) due to the Cops and Robbers Dilemma (I hit you! No you didn’t! Yeah huh! Nuh uh! Mom!!!). There wasn’t even a GM or DM or Storyteller or anything.

            I should add that my current group doesn’t really play 4e in the way it was intended. Our sessions are combat-light and dice-light, and we have grafted on a homebrew airship combat ruleset that has become half of our total combat. We never dungeon crawl, don’t use XP or treasure parcels, and level up only at DM’s whim.

  • Loqi

    Agreed with Russell. The correct response when your child tells you he/she is gay is something along the lines of “ok.”

    • Robert B.

      Yup, I think that’s exactly what my mom said. It was great. I think my sister added, “Wow, Robbie, I thought you were going to tell us something bad.”

      The scene with Dad was… less optimal.

    • M

      Or possibly, if you’re a boundaries-challenged nosy parent, “oh, does that mean you’ll finally let me meet your boyfriend/girlfriend?”

  • me

    Adair Lion “Ben” is a beautiful song supporting gay rights. the video is a bit confusing at first glance because the 3 dollar bill that keeps being rejected doesn’t make sense until you discover the phrase “queer as a three dollar bill” and realize he’s playing on that insult. that and him kissing the girl and the other girl picking a fight with her until you realize he’s pointing out that straight relationships aren’t so awesome as the homophobes are trying to make them out to be.

    Murs also has really sad, powerful song called “Animal Style” that tells the tragic story of what happens when people treat gay people like crap.

    MC Lars has a song that’s a bit of slap to the Avenue Q “Everyone’s a little bit racist” song called “Everyone’s a little bit gay” that talks about how the fluidity of gender identity and the spectrum of sexual orientation that does a fairly decent job of what he sets out to do.

    Macklemore isn’t a favorite of mine but hip hop definitely is. So i just thought I’d point out that Macklemore’s song isn’t an anomaly. Progress exists in hip hop culture. it’s just not as visible as it should be. So here’s me doing what i can to change that.

  • me

    oh and I forgot Lars’s other song. its called “Twenty Three”. He had a friend in college who killed himself because he gay and was terrified of coming out of the closet. the song is in honor of his friend.

    there’s a lot more. you just have to look.


  • Amber Brooks

    We talked about him at our Feminists United meeting about how he’s a positive rapper for the most part!