In the credits of Dungeons & Dragons 5, in the “Additional consultation provided by” section, two names before Zak S (who Wizards of the Coast have now struck off due to allegations made against them) is the nom de plume “the RPGPundit”.
The RPGPundit’s name, John Tarnowski, is a matter of public knowledge. I first saw it on Livejournal over 10 years ago.
Today, Daniel D. Fox the developer of the award-winning ZWEIHÄNDER RPG has posted a public statement regarding Tarnowski / RPG Pundit / Kasimir Urbanski.
The public statement concludes by directing inquiries to Fox’s legal counsel Marc Whipple of Legal Inspiration.
Fox begins by explaining his history with Tarnowski;
Tarnowski’s campaign of harassment began in April 2017, when he publicly posted on TheRPGSite.com a false allegation that I “exposed [Tarnowski’s] name and other personal information about [Tarnowski]. I emailed Tarnowski the same day, asking why he made the post. This email thread went on over the course of months. While the first few exchanges were civil, they turned into direct and false allegations against my character and threats against my person. I stopped responding at that point. He then re-alleged these false claims via email in May of 2017 and again in September of 2017. I did not respond, and that’s when he sent me a final threatening email, ending with “…I am going to have to take measures””
Fox then outlines a series of allegations made against him by Tarnowski including, but not limited to, bribing judges at the ENnies, manipulating OneBookShelf’s metal badges and working with Zak S.
Indeed, TheRPGSite.com, run by Tarnowski, contains these same accusations.
Legal counsel is now involved as, according to Fox, the ongoing harassment has now been extended to anonymous social media attacks on family members.
A third party has claimed responsibility for this harassment, but Fox believes Tarnowski is not just the cause of them, but the actual author. He writes;
Although the alleged third party who made the post has come forward, based on his prior behavior and methods I suspect that the actual poster is none other than Tarnowski. This prompted me to seek advice of counsel and to make this Public Statement to set the record straight.
No evidence is provided to back up this claim.
Fox concludes by indicating this public statement will be his last on the matter but reaches out to Tarnowski to abandon his grudge.
Geek Native and the RPGPundit
For disclosure, Geek Native has engaged with Tarnowski previously.
I interviewed the RPGPundit regarding an RPG called Arrows of Indra that they penned in 2013.
I was aware they were disliked by many in the community for their abrasive attitude but was unaware of any more severe claims. Indeed, this was 4 years before the conflict with Daniel D. Fox is alleged to have started.
However, this blog and Tarnowski had a public and heated exchange of words in 2017 on Google+ (now defunct and deleted by Google) in response to Reaper Games putting an employee on review for expressing extremist views and failing to condemn the Nazi attacks in Charlottesville. One person was killed and 28 injured when a far-right protestor drove their car into a counter-protest.
I felt that not only was Tarnowski failing to oppose and resist extremist violence, but he was making inappropriate and false equivalences between Nazis and Muslims while describing anti-fascist protesters as terrorists.
Geek Native has not engaged with Tarnowski since then.
Here in the UK, the Citizens Advice bureau has some helpful resources about taking action on harassment.
Photograph by Siavash Ghanbari.
Do you have any thoughts on this article? Let us know in the comments below.