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What Do I Write About?

Our Founder talks about her history with RPGs and what she wants to read from you.

Since launching our submissions, I’ve had more than one person approach me to say “I love this, but what do I write about?” I tried my best to explain that I want to see lists and resources and personal essays and critiques, but maybe there is another way. To explain, I’ll write about myself.

I began playing Dungeons & Dragons with my mother and my brothers. After that we played Alternity until the game “lost the battle” (my mother’s words) to the Star Wars RPG. I remember listening to the CD introduction that came with 3rd Edition as a family and a 10 person game at my father’s where we all died and my wolf survived us, dragging our bodies out of the cave and to an Elven temple.

One of the scariest things I’ve ever done was entering the GenCon costume contest in 1999. I won for the youth category. I think there were 3 of us. I passed out on the convention center floor while we played a board game past 10 PM. I was 9 years old.

In middle or high school my brothers and I discovered Call of Cthulhu, which changed our lives forever. Kenneth Hite answered a historical question I asked on Twitter so that I could finish my then-stalled (now published) novel, and I am unreasonably grateful.

My first game outside my family happened when I went away to college. It began with the DM describing a Player Character crawling out of a vagina he had cast onto a wall, and ended when another player (a girl) told me I “just wasn’t very good at role playing.” After that, I launched Babes in Armor and started a Twitter account. It’s been nearly a decade.

In college, some Very Bad things happened to me. More than once. I failed out and moved back in with my mother in Milwaukee. While struggling to find some direction, I interned at two non profits focusing on rights for women in the workplace and nervously pitched to FemPop. I wrote a regular (always late) television recap for them and reviewed games and went to C2E2.

I returned to school a year after dropping out of college. Eventually I took a class where we created a world together and played in it as a Creative Writing project. We used the World of Darkness rules, and I excitedly went to an RPG talk that featured creators who worked on all sorts of games and only Will Hindmarch gave me his card.

I wrote a truly terrible application to Monica Valentinelli for the Conan RPG (I had and continue to have no games writing experience), and she turned it down in an unbelievably gracious way. Uncanny later published her essay, “We Have Always Been Here, Motherfucker” and it changed my life, again.

At some point I wrote, terribly, about my negative experiences at a local game convention for FemHype and it helped heal me a little to have a space to talk, and I will never get over the generosity I’ve received from outlets on the internet. There are so many bad experiences I’ve had gaming (like the comic book shop owner who played CoC with us after hours and called me “whore” for an entire session, in character). There are also so many good. The last time I played with my older brother was at a demo game for Matt Forbeck’s Shotguns and Sorcery, and it is still one of my favorite gaming memories.

There are things I have questions about. Did other people discover their sexuality way too young on text-based RPG forums? Was it just as uncomfortable? What resources changed the game for you? What RPG made you realize there was more to roleplaying than D&D?

In the end, I could write and write about myself, but I would rather read about you.

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3 comments

  1. It’s interesting you mention Text-Based RPG forums. I remember: it was in an online text-based RPG game where I first learned how enormously different I was treated whether it was perceived I was a boy or a girl.
    Maybe I’ll write about it sometime.

    Liked by 1 person

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