After spending the better part of my evening fooling around with figuring out hosting stuff for the rpgfiles.org website, I decided that I should have named it Grognerdia. I think that's somewhat clever...okay, not really, but it makes me laugh anyway.
I've talked about this before, but have had time to refine my views a bit...gamers, in general, are the worst ambassadors for this hobby. At least the most vocal and visible ones, anyway. The same could pretty much be said for most groups, be they political parties, lobbyists or rpg enthusiasts. I'm sure most people who game are just normal dudes who have regular jobs, wives and kids, but with a slightly nerdy inclination toward fantasy, sci-fi, rpgs, etc. So why are gamers identified with fat, trenchcoat wearing virgin losers who work at Safeway and have social skills that would make Rainman look like a sophisticated gent? No knock on autistic people, they can't help it, but surely the fatcoat (my new coined phrase of the day) can, right? Maybe he can't. Maybe he has Aspergers and that sucks for him. I'm willing to grant that he could be socially retarded due to a medical condition. It sure as fuck doesn't help that he hangs out in the gaming store all the time, becoming the face of roleplaying to everyone who walks in.
Those sorts of people exist in every hobby or activity I've ever been a part of. Socially inept dicks. It's not restricted to roleplaying games. One of the biggest social misfits I ever met was when I played basketball. Great player and athlete, absolutely impossible to relate to. Almost all the musicians I've ever worked with has some sort of social anxiety, too. Or megalomania. Typically, though, we don't put up with that sort of crap most of the time. People are called on the carpet, the "come to Jesus" meeting, whatever. Yet, I've seen absolutely wretched behavior ignored in the rpg hobby. What is it about rpgs and other sorts of "nerdy" hobbies that causes people to put up with that sort of shit a hell of a lot more than in other pursuits?
See, I don't think it's put up with. Not at all. My theory is that the normal dudes just say, "Fuck that," and play at their house with their buddies and have a good time. That's good. What's bad, though, is that Mr. Fatcoat is still hanging out in the gaming store, looking for other players. Maybe he meets someone new in town with no friends. New guy thinks, hey, I can play D&D with this dude, how bad could it be? New guy either struggles through the BO and bad manners, questioning his decision, finds some normal gamers, or he quits playing rpgs altogether. Unfortunately, this last category seems to happen far too often. Perhaps that's why the hobby, as a whole, is on the decline. Computer rpgs aren't helping, surely, but Fatcoat is hurting more.
My proposition is that the guys with a modicum of social skills need to get the fuck out of the house when they play. Start playing at the gaming store. Schedule a game during Fatcoat's time so people can see rpgs are a social activity, not an outlet for the mentally repressed. We need to demonstrate that, yes, groups of dudes can get together and play rpgs, just like dudes play poker or pickup basketball or whatever. It's a game, enjoyed between friends, and we need to make the public aware of that fact.