Ken St. Andre is the designer of the world’s second traditional tabletop RPG Tunnels & Trolls. It was published in 1975, and is still going, although St Andre now runs Trollhalla Press while having some involvement with Flying Buffalo.
On Twitter, where the 74-year-old is very active, he seemed to oppose the reminder that we should be anti-racist. The tweet disappointed many.
In response to one Twitter user commentating that even if Ontario or London were not racist, it would not be sufficient, as the cities would still have to make sure racists were not welcomed. They would have to be actively anti-racist.
St Andre asked, “Why? What gives you the right to tell others how they must be?”
Later, Scott Malthouse, author of Romance of the Perilous Land, Quill, In Darkest Warrens and who started Trollish Delver, now his company, as a blog celebrating T&T, shared that he had made the hard decision to cut ties and unpublish adventures.
I’ve been a fan and a acquaintance of Ken St Andre for almost a decade. I even thanked him in Romance of the Perilous Land for inspiring me to make games – which he absolutely did. But what I and many people saw on Twitter this week was inexcusable.
He finished the post by saying;
We must all stand against racism in all its forms and that involves being hostile to racists. It’s not difficult to understand. Some might see this as an overreaction, which it isn’t – this is exactly how important inclusivity in gaming and life is. So fuck my favourite game.
Geek Native has been made aware of many others unfollowing and even blocking the Tunnels & Trolls creator on Twitter in response. However, Scott Malthouse has also been subject to heat. The Trollish Delver game designer has had to block comments on the blog post with a reminder that he did not call Ken a racist.
Ken St. Andre has since apologised for joining the conversation. St Andre has clarified his position, stating that he simply objects to anyone telling him how to behave and that he doesn’t like racists either.
The tension is an unwelcome reminder that anything said on social media has consequences and that the tabletop gaming community is as caught up in the brewing cultural clashes as many others are.
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