A Chronicle of The Fall of Lotfp: Pt. I #Zaktoo

I know I know its FTL-februari Uncle Prince! Where is my SWN-review? Well your kindly uncle Prince was unexpectedly sidetracked on his way to the rpg-store to buy himself a brand new copy of the SWN core-book with his hardearned elfgame earnings when suddenly he was hit by a purple brick. The brick had a note on it in written in Aklo and was covered in some unmentionable squamous purple ooze.

“Ai’Hoss! Kn’a ee tharanak y’playreportagl? Ephai Zak’bthnk ai’hlirgh mn’hahn ep wgah’nftaghur’luh. Ya Nnn’Gotha, Venger.”

After consulting with Dr. Peterston at the Crypto-archeology department of Ryerson, Toronto I was able to acquire a translation to ancient Summerian:

Yo Hoss! Where is my play report? Also Zak has just been accused of being an abusive sex pervert [2]. Best Wishes, Venger.

I covered a lot of Lotfp. In fact I covered it so much I am actually going to go back some day and rewrite some of my earlier reviews because they were some of the first ones I ever did. If I look back now I would never have rated Hammers of the God as high as I did, I would downgrade Tower of the Stargazer for fucking up its beginner module status and I would probably rate Death Frost Doom Revised higher. I reminisce because I think at the current rate, things aren’t looking too hot and my occupation will go from resentful admirer to funeral chronicler.

First there was Chaipraditkulgate, where Raggi published an absolutely useless piece of pandering menstrual fluff to the leftist nonsense-mongers of Gencon and subsequently claimed it had been burnt down by some sort of nebulous agency that is antagonistic to substandard roleplaying supplements. Then there came Petersongate, when James Raggi threw out his freedom-fuck-yeah stance after the talentless Kiel Chenier ran off in a cloud of girlish tears and oily residue and Zak essentially browbeat him into taking down a picture of himself with the Lobster-god Jordan Peterson. And now we have #Zaktoo. 2019 is off to a rocky start.

Here is the screenshot in full, forever lovingly displayed on the internet.
mandy-morbid-versus-the-zak.png

Yikes!

While I would be a little skeptical since this is after all the internet, the behavior is consistent with the pattern we have seen Zak display towards the average human being thus far. Nothing in the above post seems in any way incongruent with his behavior, appearance and ideals. It appears my estimation of him Frostbitten & Mutilated is going to prove true in a bizarre way, and these are to be his twilight years, but he will not go gently into that cold night.

While Zak S will gladly devote lengthy diatribes to the defense of putting smut in various rpg products in the name of some vaguely defined principle of freedom-of-expression, going so far as to invoke the shadowy spectre of the holocaust [3] as his bulwark, it appears this same principle cannot be applied to people of different beliefs, the religious, the stoic, the conservative or indeed, any creature that has not emerged slime-covered from the noxious cauldron of progressivist hollywood, disfigured and armed only with a copy of Das Kapital, a gaping emptiness where a soul should be and a hatred for the very society that nurtured them. The more time passes the more it becomes apparent that characters like Zak S or James Raggi are not for any abstract principle of free expression, but merely for the free expression of degeneracy, evil and ugliness. An ugliness that is reflected in the very fabric of their being it seems.

This is no cry for sympathy for the victims. I have little. This is an inevitable consequence of the society you create with your values, your ideas, your actions, your dating behavior. If I can be generous I can admit that you were young, you were foolish and you have paid a very heavy price for that, which I would not honestly wish on anyone.

Zak will survive this, but it will cost him. If the accusations prove to be anything but outright fabrications brought about by a mentally ill woman (not entirely impossible but unlikely) this will permanently damage his moral infrastructure to the point of rendering him vulnerable to attack on any public forum. What I am interested in is how James Raggi is going to handle this. We have seen the philosophical position of Lotfp become increasingly muddled and skewed towards progressivism over the years, and now its going to be interesting to see how he will react if the very principles he half-heartedly upholds [4] are turned against him. In the absence of any outside stimulus, I find it unlikely James Raggi will do anything on his own. But will Scrapprincess work for a company that employs a known harasser? Aren’t we supposed to #believewomen and not provide a platform to harassers? Will he be devoured by the very wallet-things that sustain him?

The fall of Lotfp has only begun. Like the Age of Dusk, it is a time of fecund growth and boundless creativity. Of broken alliances. Of decay in the splendid ruins of ancient days. I will chronicle its fall, mock its failure and sing its praises where deserved.

The towers are tumbling, the edifices of postmodern morality are turning out to be hollow facades, spectres and vacuous, empty pits of madness and evil. Lies are revealed and meaning is rediscovered. The burning, uncompromising eye of truth tears down any feeble structure we seek to erect under its merciless gaze and only by a retreat into the obscuring darkness of the past can we find meaning once again. It is a good time to be alive. We are the Children of the Phoenix my brethren. Go out into the world and sing your songs. And burn.

[1] Which admittedly looked a lot like a dingy basement covered in poster sized pictures of Kiel Chenier, connected in an intricate scarlet spiderweb of cute little red string
[2] Since Aklo does not have a word for sex pervert Venger presumably used the word wgah’nftaghurluh which may be broken down as wgah (to reside in/control of) ftaghu (skin/boundary) and r’luh (secret). More of Vengers writing on sex crimes in Precambrian times may be found in the eldritch rluh’phlegeth kadisthu’ah (the secret-realm-of-information understand/know-generic act).
[3] I know right? Whodathunk it?
[4] The philosophical position-by-default

UPDATE: YDIS awakens from its deathless slumber and makes a chillingly insightful prediction:

“Prediction Thread: What Is Zak’s Response? We know he’s going full in on “It’s all lies” but how does he spin it? My prediction: he blames her parents/friends/support network that she returned home to. Something like, “She ran to get away from them originally and they never liked me. I was her protector but they were always whispering in her ear, trying to get her back. They finally succeeded when her illness forced her back to Canada for care, and once they got her hooks in her again, they were able to convince her that I was awful, reassess everything that we did together through the prism of their prudish views and contempt for sexual freedom, and denounce me.””

Wheels within Wheels. Your long silence has hurt us all.

Update: Chenier throws him under a buss while pulling out his hair and wailing. Stuart corraborates. Scrapprincess blackleafs him.

However, his financial infrastructure is still almost entirely intact, as neither James nor Mike Evans (of the 70k/400 a month kickstarter) has denounced.

If my initial estimate of his patreon is accurate and there was no significant decline between January 30th and Februari 11 (Day Zero), his patreon earnings have been reduced from 400 to 316 in 2 days (with the decline having slown down to a trinkle as of today). Depending on his response the number might decline further (if he comes across as too sociopathic, manipulative or evil) but I am confident the response will be measured, suitably wounded, targeted with chilling precision and accompanied by sufficient screen shots to halt the initial momentum.

The race is not over!

And a little bird told me to expect a reply, or rather, an extinction-event from Mr. Sabbath tomorrow. Will he stop the slow erosion of his patreon and the clamouring hordes of kickstarter backers demanding to be struck from the record and refunded? Will he win us all back by explaining how it was actually Mandy who was the abuser? Stay tuned!

UPDATE: Total demolition. After a steep intial drop [1] and a 1 day lull that I will hesitantly blame on the propagation time the decline is on in full. Patreon has been reduced to 278 and 70 backers. Kickstarter is talking about donating the proceeds of the book to a charity for Abuse Victims and people are clamoring for either refunds and to have their name removed from the book. Yikes.

Vivka Grey (some other prostitute) corraborates with yet another story of abuse. Satine Phoenix (to prostitutes what prostitutes are to eligible women) corraborates. Drivethru renders itself obsolete as a viable marketplace in 10 years by refusing to sell all future products Zak is a collaborator on. On the testimony of a mentally ill woman (this was before another came forward to corraborate). I’m sure that will not be abused in the slightest.

Mike Mearls is under full SJW attack from the mere association with Zak S, for defending him against (presumably baseless since SJWs are compulsive liars, but probably traumatic encounters nonetheless) similar accusations in the past. Tough luck on him, for this time the accusations are damn credible though ENTIRELY UNRELATED, and you get to be tried for things you did not commit! Pssst, Mike. It doesn’t matter what you do. You are a white male! They are literally telling you this!

The Gauntlet Podcast is not only banning all Zak related content but will actually be unpersoning him, going so far as to delete archival discussions of Zak related material and carefully checking over all material.

Odds on Raggi dropping him like a bad habit. People don’t even wait for the rebuttal.

[1] I suggest this is because Zak and Mandy share a lot of social media connections after 10 years.

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46 thoughts on “A Chronicle of The Fall of Lotfp: Pt. I #Zaktoo

  1. Yeesh. I hadn’t heard about this until now. How incredibly unpleasant.

    Just one question, though. Why do you say this?

    “This is no cry for sympathy for the victims. I have little.”

    This strikes me as overly-motivated by a desire to go against the grain of the cultural zeitgeist, but perhaps I’m reading it wrong. Maybe you have reasons to dislike Mandy; I don’t know crap about her. But I am struck by the coldness of this statement as I understand it.

    Like

    1. I don’t know Mandy Morbid personally, all I know is that she was willing to reap the benefits of her lifestyle with Zak S for a decade, parrot his opinions, stand in his defence when he was attacked (for nonsense attacks but still) indeed, act in every way as an enabler. I do not wish her ill but I also do not wholly buy into the portrayal of the helpless damsel in distress. The fact is mandy morbid benefited noticeably from her association with Zak S, to the point where Raggi & Pals got together and did a donation adventure to get her treatment for EDS. And then when they are out of the picture…the turnabout! How convenient.

      I am not a sadist and I am not cruel, but perhaps I am cold. I know this play and I know it well. No one “deserves” this. But the story is more complex then one of a virtuous and fair maiden being preyed upon by a wicked villain.

      Source: Adventure
      https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/123324/Bad-Myrmidon?term=bad+myrmidon

      Source: Typical post about the “monster” Zak S
      (link made inert to prevent post from flooding) mandymorbid.tumblr(dotcom)/post/92910013775/more-reasons-people-found-to-hate-me

      In time you will look upon the world with cold eyes also and nurture a tiny flame of hope, love and courage for the few noble souls in your immediate vicinity against the encroaching darkness. You will nurture your sympathies like a strong drink and dole them out niggardly when they do genuine good. You will learn to laugh, and overcome the hardness of your heart and let the evils of the world wash over and through you and know you can do little but claw out a tiny islet of meaning in a sea of chaos. But not today.

      Like

      1. “But the story is more complex then one of a virtuous and fair maiden being preyed upon by a wicked villain.”

        Twas ever thus. Don’t get me wrong, I am not knee jerk about anything. I religiously avoid getting caught up in the moment AND the ensuing backlash. And relationships are complicated and you usually only get one side of the story, at best. Actually, if you’re lucky, you get no sides of the story, but that kind of discretion is rare these days.

        That being said, egregious is egregious, and I feel bad for anyone who was treated this way. Over time, we may hear some mitigating information, so I’m not yet reaching for my pitchfork.

        But I do have a lot of sympathy for someone with the kind of chronic illness that Mandy suffers from. Maybe you have to see that sort of thing firsthand – I had a longtime girlfriend with crippling sickle cell anemia, and the anguish that these kinds of problems cause is very hard to see up close. It’s mind warping, especially with the kind of medications that often go with chronic health issues. Painkillers, for example, are a real motherfucker: everyone who takes them becomes addicted. And being in a hospital (i.e. the tenth circle of Hell) for weeks at a time is just not good for your mental state.

        So I’m well aware that Mandy was very reliant and supportive of Zak for many years. But given what she’s been through, I can’t hold that against her for a microsecond. Again, I really don’t know her, and I don’t know about the rest of her relationship. But that’s a hard thing to hold against someone. When you’re suffering abjectly, you hold on to whatever you can.

        Anyway, maybe it’s my own particular history that makes me question you about this. You’re not being cruel or unfair. Just a little cold, and that’s no crime.

        Like

      2. [Bandwagon]
        I would not have expected you to be a bandwagonist, you seem even tempered.

        [Crippling illness]

        That sounds incredibly taxing, I understand your sympathy in this case. Perhaps I would be sympathetic too were I in your shoes. It is our lot to make mirrors of the world.

        [Holding against]

        That’s not how I would frame my perspective. All of this sounds very much like a co-dependant relationship to me. The psychology of abusers and their lovers is complex and cannot always be described in terms of victim and perp. Ever wondered where the phrase “I just want a nice guy” comes from? There is a component to some of the victims that draws them inexorably into the same patterns (I recommend reading up on Inverted Narcissism for a glaring example). I am not saying the suffering is just, or emotional abuse is justified, far from it. I am saying this event is explicable and even in some way propagated by this bizarre body-positivity, promiscuity pro-porn nonsense that they will peddle to their impressionable girls.

        [Cold]

        The trick to happiness is to allow yourself some small space where you are allowed to have irrational belief and optimism in and to make sure that thing is something that helps you forward and gives you meaning. I feel so many of you more liberal guys just pick the wrong things to have this optimism in or this consideration for and that is going to bite you in the ass at some point.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Your reply functionality is a little weird…I can’t reply to something you said if it’s too deep in a sub-thread. Oh well, you get the idea.

        I just wanted to reply because, even though we have different perspectives, I appreciated a lot of what you wrote. Let me excerpt.

        “The psychology of abusers and their lovers is complex and cannot always be described in terms of victim and perp. Ever wondered where the phrase “I just want a nice guy” comes from? There is a component to some of the victims that draws them inexorably into the same patterns…”

        Yes, yes, I agree very much with what you’re saying here. I’m ready to excuse a lot of mistakes on Mandy’s part due to her illness. Of course, she might really not like someone saying that since I’m essentially holding her to a different standard. But I’m locked into my own history on this one.

        “I am saying this event is explicable and even in some way propagated by this bizarre body-positivity, promiscuity pro-porn nonsense that they will peddle to their impressionable girls.”

        I doubt we are precisely aligned on this, but what I wholeheartedly agree with is that these kinds of environments are target-rich environments for someone who wants to take advantage of them. And I get the impression there’s no shortage of predators. But I wouldn’t know; nobody invites me to orgies.

        “I feel so many of you more liberal guys just pick the wrong things to have this optimism in or this consideration for and that is going to bite you in the ass at some point.”

        Hey, I think this is a GREAT (and very civil) encapsulation of a major point of disagreement between liberals and conservatives. But in fairness, I must point out that there will be no final reckoning, and we’ll all get bitten in the ass at some point.

        Like

      4. Thanks dude. I want to keep my dysfunctional little corner of the internet open to all kinds of autism. Autism is what this hobby is all about.

        [Mistakes]

        There are always good reasons. Or rather, you can always use some scientific model, some combination of behavioral genetics and environmental stimuli, to explain away atrocious behavior in some manner that renders it understandable and even palatable. But the secret is that you can’t allow yourself to think that way since you gain a benefit from the perception that you and other people have free will, that morality exists, even if it is very hard to demonstrate that that is actually true. Evil is still real.

        [Orgies]

        Once. The other dude was creepy and curiously effeminate. The chicks were mostly good-looking but creepy. They sickened me. It takes a strange sort of personality to enjoy that sort of stuff and I am very much not that guy.

        [Libuhrul]

        I’m from Holland, I was a pretty left-leaning guy once, we would probably still agree on points like healthcare, global warming, corporations being huge assholes, legalized prostitution, legalized mariuhana and saving the killer whale (nature’s most badass murder machine). Hell we would probably also agree conceptually on the perils of government overreach, unchecked mass migration, not letting Raggi anywhere near your kids and DCC being a cool game.

        [Reckoning]

        History never ends. And that everyone gets bitten, that’s the problem.

        Like

      5. “Zak will survive this, but it will cost him.”

        I’m not sure that’s true. I mean, he’ll still draw breath, but Zak has burned a lot of bridges and there might not be anybody left to defend him. A lot of people are apparently reading Mandy’s account and recognizing the guy she’s describing. Apparently Ken Hite wants nothing to do with him now, at least according to the estimable Tenkar. I’ve heard a lot of places say he’s no longer welcome, his Demon City kickstarter is full of refund requests, and people are apologizing for ever defending him.

        The funny thing is that he might have had a chance if he hadn’t been alienating everyone in the role-playing community that he corresponds with over the last few years.

        I wonder if this scandal has spread beyond his elfgaming to the ahhht world. I assume that’s a big part of his actual income.

        Like

      6. [Survival]

        Whew, until Raggi throws him under the bus I am not ready to call the time of death.

        Oh yeah I’ve been keeping track of the Demon City patreon. It was 400 in january 30th, so unless he lost a couple of backers in the meantime, that means his patreon is burning too, it was 341 dollars per month with 88 backers yesterday, 821 with 81 today and thats within 24 hours of the initial message. I didn’t know you could ask for kickstarter refunds, that might seriously fuck him up.

        [several minutes later]

        …so you can demand a refund for a kickstarter? Oh shit he is fucked if that works. It looks like most people are either paralyzed by indecision or already throwing him under the bus. Mike Evans is being called to disavow. It has the anatomy of a classic SJW attack, only its vaguely credible and he has absolutely NO DEFENCE. I think if he doesn’t apologize and Raggi and some other people decide to spin it into an ‘its all lies’ he might be able to get through, but it looks like everyone is getting ready to throw him under the bus.

        [Propagation]

        Zak might be an rpg guy, but Mandy isn’t resigned to rpg-land. If I were her I’d make sure to plaster that shit ALL OVER the art world. And then start a patreon for your therapy or whatever. These people are professional leeches.

        [Pissing everyone off]

        Yeah this is the one time when we can forget our grievances and gather together around the blazing bonfire of Zak.

        [Art Wurld]

        A MeToo accusation. In LA? In the Art-world? Holy shit he is fucked if it reaches that area.

        Like

      7. [Refunds]

        I joined this KS, but I’m not asking for a refund. There are other people involved.

        [Art world]

        I suspect he’s a much smaller fish in that pond, so it might not stick to his name in the same way.

        [Raggi]

        He’s going to have to say something. Despite his devil-may-care libertarian image, I suspect he’s really twisted up over this. He’d be stupid not to be.

        [Free will and morality]

        Personally, I don’t believe in free will, because I think the definition itself collapses under close scrutiny. That’s a much longer discussion. But you don’t need free will for morality…just ask the ancient Greeks and the Lutherans. For me, morality is a sub-branch of aesthetics, which is not to say it’s a trivial matter like picking drapes, but that I am content to simply despise certain behaviors and people. I don’t feel a need to justify that dislike with some sort of metaphysical rationalization. Whether or not I can explain their behavior doesn’t really matter to me, because there is always an explanation, even if I don’t know it.

        That was probably a more in-depth response than was warranted, but you’re the one who brought up philosophy.

        Like

      8. [Refunds]

        That’s up to you mate.

        [Art world]

        Maybe, it would depend on how vindictive his detractors are. If they put in the effort they could probably make that rubble bounce.

        [Raggi]

        I can see the financial dilemma because Zak is his prime cashcow but keeping him on might damn Lotfp by association or lose him other authors, who don’t even need him to keep publishing under the Lotfp system if they have a name on their own. I honestly do not know if he has moral quandries, I suspect Raggi’s morals to be underdeveloped.

        [Free Will and Morality]

        The problem of free will is not one I have resolved though I find very few people can deal intelligently with some of the arguments against it. Morality is predicated on choice, otherwise the very concept of guilt dissapears and it no longer becomes possible to differentiate between a person committing a murder or a person committing a murder at gunpoint. I think you could probably argue from a position of no guilt, no free will but its a pointless one, and what use is there to be found in convincing people that they cannot choose?

        I think the best fiction on the subject is R.Scott Bakker’s the Prince of Nothing Trilogy and Peter Watt’s Blindsight and Echopraxia. I haven’t read much philosophy besides Nietzsche, whom I have read extensively in my edgy fase (i.e when I am awake). I suggest we share a few sentiments, I also find explanations or theories of behavior mostly irrelevant, I think most people follow primal instinctual urges and the neo-cortex makes up elaborate theories of motivation to explain their behavior poste-facto. I also think coherent moral systems are overall very healthy for human beings, empathy is a poor guide for moral behavior alone, Christianity (with its emphasis on choice) is beneficial to mankind but I am mostly agnostic myself.

        I would also suggest that any philosophy that does not take as an assumption the inherent worth of a human life and the inherent falliability and selfishness of the human animal will lead one down dark, blood-stained roads.

        Like

      9. [Morality predicated on choice]

        That is a modern formulation, but to be honest, I don’t actually understand the ancient approach. In any case, the point is moot for me since I don’t believe that there is choice. Were I to wish otherwise, it would make no difference. When I say that my morality is a kind of aesthetics, it’s because I can’t otherwise defend my disgust towards certain kinds of behavior.

        [Convincing others]

        I’m not so sure that there’s no value in convincing others that they are wrong. After all, if people have a view of morality that is founded on nonexistent phenomena, I am inclined to think that their moral system is weaker for it. Or maybe not, and it doesn’t matter. But I have an unsubstantiated belief that the truth matters.

        But that’s besides the point, since I really don’t go around trying to convince people otherwise. Conversations like this are very much the exception for me, and even here, I’m fine with it if you are not persuaded. Sometimes it’s just entertaining for me to talk about these things.

        [Reading]

        I imagine that the Prince of Nothing trilogy must be interesting if you have taken your nom de internet from it. But I have zero familiarity. I better google that at least.

        My philosophical education is patchy. I’m pretty familiar with Nietzsche and the other existentialists, but they all pretty much take free will as a given. Sartre is an interesting case for me because there’s so much I agree with him on except for his central tenet (i.e. existence precedes essence) and his unquestioning belief in free will.

        [Inherent worth of human life]

        “Inherent” is a strange word here, because something inherent doesn’t really need to be said or proved. So what we’re talking about isn’t strictly inherent, but I get you. Actually, I agree with this bit, although I’d say (a) you can believe in the value and fallibility of humanity without free will, and (b) we’ve always been on a dark and blood-stained road, and I imagine that we always will be. History is the story of humanity stumbling from one disaster to the next.

        Like

      10. [Ancient]

        Weren’t ye olden days about greatness, facing up to your Wyrd like a man and also murdering things with your sword? I’m not sure if I believe the idea of control over your actions is a christian idea.

        [Convincing]

        In general you are right, but in this specific instance you are not. Fatalism and Learned Helplessness tend to cause diminished initiative, quench any impulse to better oneself or the world around it and in general are conductive to unhealthy behaviors.

        Your brain has a bunch of illusions or flaws that are actually beneficial to your survival and reproductive success. Most people have a completely unrealistic appraisal of their own abilities that works to bolster their self-confidence and keeps them trying new things.

        [Reading]

        If you are into philosophy, history and violence you will find much to your liking. Bakker also gives philosophy lectures and it shows in most of his work. I consider the Prince of Nothing trilogy to be one of the finest works of modern fantasy, easily surpassing modern contenders like Lawrence, Sapkowski, Pinto, Sanderson, Martin or Rothfuss. I haven’t read enough Mevielle yet to compare. Bakkers books are intricate, dark, brooding, obscene and utterly captivating.

        Also recommended are his essays on the Semantic Apocalypse and philosophical crash space and whatnot.

        [Inherent]

        It can also mean inextricably linked, or in and of- itself, by which I mean they should be foundational principles, not a thesis one can prove via science or arbitrary morality or whatnot.

        A) In that case the outside force of imposed thought that you do not control will redirect your behavior along a track that is more likely to cause you to exhibit prosocial behavior causing you and others to experience more pleasant release of endorphins over extended periods of time.

        B) Yes but that’s your fatalism talking. We live in a time that is bizarrely peaceful compared to what has come before. Why not strive to reduce suffering, knowing it is inevitable and enthropy will win out in the terrestrial realm at some point. I don’t think we will experience a period free from war in a thousand years (we are human beings after all), but principle can alter the amount of suffering, evil and so forth. You can probably state that that idea is merely a product of the surrounding economic resources and the average of genetic influences and the carryover from previous civilizations and these things shape ideas more then ideas shape these factors but the effect need not be a one-way street.

        [Disaster]
        I think history is more then that. History is knowledge, valor, love, piety, heroism, kindness, hope, generosity, betrayal, atrocity, beauty, hubris. Its the climb that makes it good.

        Like

      11. “Down dark, blood-stained roads.” You keep giving me awesome titles for stuff, hoss!

        DriveThru’s dropping future Zak titles (announcement came last night) has all but sealed Raggi’s fate. He can’t keep using Zak S. and remain profitable.

        Liked by 1 person

      12. [Zaks survival]
        Nearly everyone is cutting ties with him at this point. Drivethru all but kicked him out the door, Ken Hite severed ties with him, TheGauntlet wants nothing to do with him … Even Mike mearls postet a half hearted kind of comment saying, WotC had no contact with Zak since the release of 5E.
        The only two people you have heard nothing from are Zak himself and Raggi …

        [Philosophy and free will]
        Love how this discussion came into being 😉
        I’m not entirely sure where I stand on the whole “Is free will real” debate … never gave it that much tought.
        Like Prince said … your brain does a lot of amazing things to fool yourself into thinking there is more to “you” than there is … I recommend the works of Daniel C. Dennett and Douglas Hofstaedter on this subject.
        Well now I have the strong urge to read some good philosophy 🙂

        [Disaster]
        You should give Nikos Kazantzakis “Saviours of God” (http://www.angel.net/~nic/askitiki.html) a try. It’s not that long and seems to fit your point here.
        Kazantzakis essentially says, that there are two big streams in the universe. One that creates and strives “upwards” towards perfection, the other that destroys and strives “downwards” towards death and decay.
        He then says, that both streams are sacred and natural and advises, that the only way to find happiness and meaning is to find a balance between these two streams. It’s style takes a bit to get used to, but if you see past that into the core of the writing, it’s a very neat piece to think about.

        “Pain is not the only essence of our God, nor is hope in a future life or a life on this earth, neither joy nor victory. Every religion that holds up to worship one of these primordial aspects of God narrows our hearts and our minds.
        The essence of our God is STRUGGLE. Pain, joy, and hope unfold and labor within this struggle, world without end.”

        Like

      13. [Christian]

        I wouldn’t say precisely Christian. After all, Lutherans are believers in predestination, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are plenty of non-Christian ideologies that embrace free will. But I have a strong impression that belief in fate was a lot more prevalent before the modern era.

        [Useful illusions]

        Maybe you’re right…I really have no idea. But I’m stubborn about truth. If I don’t believe that something exists, I’m not going to try to trick myself to believe otherwise. To be honest, even if I was capable of it, I just can’t bring myself to that sort of thing.

        [Reading]

        Nice reading list. I go through phases of voracious book reading. I’ll have to put these on my list to at least look into.

        [Inherent]

        I was being pedantic.

        [Optimism]

        Ah, you tricked me! No, I don’t think that everything is miserable. I only meant to contrast with this idea that we have to embrace the idea of free will or be doomed. I think you were exaggerating in the same way that I am when you said that. It’s all just matters of degree, as you indicate in your response. No, I’m not one of those terrible cynics who thinks everything is shit and nothing can be better or worse.

        I really can’t say how essential free will is to a warmer, softer humanity (there you go, by the way, CARING like a liberal). You could be right, or you could be completely wrong, and maybe there’s a better way of life right over the horizon that comes from embracing the truth. Since such questions are impossible to answer, I default to stubbornly advocating for what I believe to be true instead of what I believe might be “useful.”

        [Zak]

        It looks like Zak is done. That was QUICK. I have to say, I’m surprised that DriveThru did that. I’m not one of those guys who feels that he has to go out and burn his copy of Chinatown, so I’ll hold on to my copy of Maze of the Blue Medusa, thank you much.

        [Philosophical discussions]

        When someone mentions “free will,” my inner philosophy starts chomping at the bit. I’m glad it worked out well (this time…).

        [Nikos Kazantzakis]

        I’ll give that a peek today and try to respond later. Sounds interesting!

        Like

      14. Wow that went pretty fast, I had expected some sort of precision counter-strike. I hadn’t expected how much people fucking loathed Zak. EVERYONE is throwing the guy under the bus, people are rolling back their statements. I have seen more civilized shark attacks, and I love how people start conflating actual abuse with the fact Zak could be a total asshole online.

        What do you say when a Titan falls? ENGINE KILL!

        Raggi will burn on the pire with Zak or cast him out. It’s not the first time he caved under pressure, cowardice has a way of ingraining itself into one’s character.

        “He then says, that both streams are sacred and natural and advises, that the only way to find happiness and meaning is to find a balance between these two streams. It’s style takes a bit to get used to, but if you see past that into the core of the writing, it’s a very neat piece to think about.”

        That sounds like a dualistic heresy derived from Eastern mysticism or pagan tradition (or fucking Sumerians for that matter). I am not sure if viewing destruction as a natural part of a system rather then something that must be opposed is conducive to long term success, or rather, I do not support the notion we must integrate evil into the fabric of our world in order to achieve balance. Order, Civilisation and Meaning are clawed from Savagery, Darkness and Cruelty of the world as it is.

        “The essence of our God is STRUGGLE. Pain, joy, and hope unfold and labor within this struggle, world without end.”

        You bet your german keister it is.

        [Christian]

        Eghads you are forgiven. You need not address the totality of viewpoints held by all christian sects, you need but take the average as derived from the sum of all beliefs. So if a bunch of Kathars or Gnostic Sects or Anabaptists differ of the opinion, that is sufficient. Strike at the heart.

        [Useful illusions]

        If you act like something is real your mind will follow, almost inevitably. Thought and action are very much intertwined and the brain avoids cognitive dissonance wherever possible. Also it doesn’t matter, your brain has logic flaws built into it from the ground up. You can’t escape shortcomings in the hardware by softwaring your way out of there, any more then my biology allows me to break the laws of physics.

        [Optimism]

        Would you say you thus “decide” to advocate what you think is true :P?

        [Zak]

        I am pretty excited. That means we might see room for another rpgstore on the market in a while. This one is fucked. They set a pretty bad precedent right there. There I go again with my evil rightwing thoughts, not trusting all those pink-haired people and their rational, calm approach. They are so gentle and so meek. I wonder if ACKS will be next?

        I’m still going to review Zaks remaining shit btw. Maze is on my list. AND WHY HAVE I NOT BEEN COMPLIMENTED ON MY INSIGHTFUL CRITICISM OF FROSTBITTEN?

        Like

      15. [Destruction]

        Destruction and evil are completely different things. I could argue this at great length, but (a) I could be misreading your conflation, and (b) I don’t want to argue at great length.

        [Christianity vs. modernity]

        It’s all jumbled together. When I talk about the idea of free will being the cornerstone of modern morality, this is as true of secular modern thought. Yes, all the roots are intertwined and it’s messy, but I’m trying to address modern sensibilities that you’ll find everywhere from Sunday morning pulpits to Saturday morning cartoons. I don’t know if “Christianity” quite captures that. Anyway, I probably shouldn’t get hung up on this.

        [My illusions]

        Of course, you can append “I think” to pretty much everything I say. When I talk about “truth,” I’m not actually saying that I am absolutely sure of…well, anything. I hope that’s sufficiently post-modern for you.

        As for the hardwired flaws of my brain…well yes, you can’t even use language without buying into an implicit notion of free will. We’re always “choosing” things, right? But I can compartmentalize that shit, as evidenced by the fact of this conversation.

        I mean, the point is, I’m trying to figure out what’s real. Regardless of whether it’s supposed to be useful, comforting or even instinctual. Call it a fixation, or maybe just a hobby.

        [Choosing optimism]

        Oh no you don’t! I chose a croissant this morning, but I still don’t believe in free will.

        Like

      16. [The End}
        It was quick for sure … but then again, the guy has a phenomenal track record of shitstorms he either created, was the focus of or took part in. Sockpuppet accounts, sicking his fans on his critics, … and thats just from a quick google search.
        Now no one seems to be ready to give him the benefit of the doubt. The whole affair is certainly not helped by his silence … or the fact, that he postet random art stuff on his twitter just a few hours ago.

        Now everyone is either distancing himself from zack directly and apologizing for all past contact (Like Ken Hite did)
        or they try to get themselves and their companies out of the fallout zone as quickly as possible (like the statement from M. Mearls regarding WotC).

        [DriveThru]
        https://oneblogshelf.blogspot.com/2019/02/drivethrurpg-responds-to-current.html
        Well, he was on their asshole-watchlist quite some time it seems (at least thats what they say now)
        This whole thing seems to be the final straw for them …
        I mean, they decide who they want to do business with … but like Venger said in his last post on his blog:
        The revolution and the lynchmobs don’t really stop when they are supposed to. They have a habbit of going on quite a bit longer than that.
        Such decision can open the doors for much worse decision later on.
        But then again, I don’t want to commit the “slipery slope” fallacy here … not every questionable decision is the first step to the end of the world.

        [Raggi]
        Raggi will drop zak unde the bus I think. For all his provocations, he isn’t that brave.

        [Destruction]
        Like Edgewise said: Destruction doesn’t always equal evil.
        I can’t tell you exactly where Kazantzakis stood on questions of faith and philosophy, so its quite possible he was influenced by all you said.
        As far as I can tell from the text, he tought the two streams where natural parts of the world and together create a struggle in which man is caught up if he wants to or not. Good, Bad and the decision to do either or none of them is entirely mans own. He then advocates to take the high road and try to make the world and mankind better, yet never forgetting the two streams.
        “Love responsibility. Say: It is my duty, and mine alone, to save the earth. If it is not saved, then I alone am to blame.”
        “THE ULTIMATE most holy form of theory is action.”
        “THIS IDENTIFICATION of ourselves with the Universe begets the two superior virtues of our ethics: responsibility and sacrifice.”

        And I won’t bet my german keister on such matters … it is much to valuable for that 😉

        [Christians]
        I always found it kind of funny that most christians accept an omniscient, omnipotent god … and then place such big emphasis on personal choices. The emphasis on choice is something I can get behind quickly … as was said … without choice, not much really matters.

        [Useful illusions]
        Yeah … and these build in flaws are part of the reason we are so successfull as a species.
        If our brains wouldn’t trick themselves all the time we wouldn’t get much done besides screaming at the senselesness of it all. 😛

        [Philosophy]
        A bit of playful banter in the philosophy department does wonders for the mind and soul 😉
        And look … no one is bruning someone else for having a differing opinion …
        Maybe we are all just adults and accept that other people have other opinions …


        nah

        Its probably the cold and dark presence of the void emanating from Prince that reminds us that all existence is futile and our lives are just worthless, so why bother fighting for something ;-P

        Liked by 1 person

      17. You forgot the part where she admits to grooming women for abuse but says its all Zak’s doing. Never heard a Quebecois woman say that before. Fuck em both.

        Like

      18. “You forgot the part where she admits to grooming women for abuse but says its all Zak’s doing. Never heard a Quebecois woman say that before. Fuck em both.”

        Yeah its funny how she denies all responsibility. Some of those other testimonies sound like post-fact sense-making to maintain frame to me. Its not so much that its fake, I mean I believe it, but some of it sounds like a reinterpretation. Like I said, I have little sympathy, but he is still a creep.

        Like

      1. Venger, I don’t think many people have weighed Alpha Blue against Death Frost Doom and made a hard choice. I have a feeling that people who want both, get both. That said, I have no industry experience, so feel free to correct me.

        Like

  2. I like coming home after a long day of not showering and collecting retardbux, pouring myself a nice tall glass of mommy’s special drink and masturbating to victim-hood olympics and wholesome comments.

    Like

  3. Err, my bad, I confused Lutherans with Calvinists. Lutherans believe in a softer version of Calvinist predestination.

    I know, that was bothering everyone.

    Like

      1. Maybe it was all those Yellow Vests dancing on the roundabouts, like day-glo omens of higher bonfires, who had convinced me to get out into the real world one last time and hook up with deep country hairdressers instead of elfgaming my life away ; or maybe it was the placid, identity-politics-free appeal of the boardgame resurgence (so.many.fucking.podcasts!) ; or maybe just the realization that I had really nothing to say about Tao’s latest layoff. Anyway, I was ready to put my OSR midlife crisis behind me, when Orcus spoke to me, as He often does, through a 10-year-old girl scout on a drive to ski camp. “Say, Mr Gode, you should do roleplaying games, it’s dope.” And her fully badged, curly-headed friends all agreed. Hearing these words my old scarred heart melted like some half-rapist’s patreon, and here I am.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Prediction Thread II:

    LotFloP goes from King of the Boutique Publishers to a rudderless boat, utterly cast adrift. Once he cuts Zak loose, I imagine Raggi’s first order of business is to make nice with Pat Stuart and try to get him back on board as the new creative face of the company. Likely will also hit up Rients for something, anything to publish. Hite won’t have anything to do with him anymore.

    Probably the Hydra folks are best positioned to be the new top publisher in the OSR? Kevin Crawford I think has the most sales and highest output, but he’s too quiet and non-grandiose. No one liked Frog Demons, but everyone is gushing over Kutalik’s aw-shucks response to Ten Foot Pole’s poor review. The community wants someone likeable to replace the Zak ‘n’ Rags Show and Kutalik is a good choice for them.

    Tenkar’s tentacles have been fully optimized to seek suitable orifices to affiliate with and monetize — that dude appears to have about a billion trickling revenue sources that together probably add up to something okay-ish. He wants to be the new Pope and he’ll suck whatever dicks are necessary to get there.

    Fragmentation caused by G+ euthanasia throws everything in the air. Someone will cause everyone else to coalesce around a new community and it’s probably something we’re not seeing yet — I don’t think Discord, MeWe, or Reddit are going to be it.

    Like

    1. [Prediction Thread I]

      That would be a great defense if there was only one accuser. Against four, he needs a more coherent approach rather that a piecemeal response. My prediction is that he’s alternating between furiously penning draft responses and trying to get in touch with anyone who will stand in his corner. But I don’t think there will be anyone. Eventually, I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes the route Greg Gorgonmilk threatened and change his pen name and hairstyle.

      [Prediction Thread II]

      The problem with Hydra Collective is that it doesn’t produce a steady drumbeat of content. I agree that Crawford would be well-positioned if he wasn’t such a reasonable low-key guy. My prediction is that someone new will rise. Or maybe the Swordfish Islands guy…he seems to be getting around, and that one rocked. Or maybe it doesn’t coalesce around any provocative personalities, which would probably be the healthy thing.

      Like

    2. Prediction Thread II:

      Like my friend pointed out to me yesterday, its about visibility and pomp, not sales output, otherwise Crawford would trounce them easily.

      King James delicately picks up the Fallen One from the battlefield and carries him home to his destitute halls, nursing him back to health for when the public has forgotten his infamy. Stuart is going to back off from his advances with a NOOOOPPPEE, doing shit for other “Art-punk” venues like into the Odd. Hite withdraws in disgust. Kowolski…is buds with Chenier I think but he might keep on trucking, not sure. (Incidentally I think Kowolski is criminally under appreciated as a module writer).

      Crawford will always be the OSR’s silent Emperor and will remain so, creating genius games and supplements that are enjoyed by many with nary the visibility. He will do this without getting into any drama or bullshit.

      Kutalik is good but his shit seems too niché and is not lowbrow enough, he also doesn’t have the network. He is likeable and not too partisan, but he lacks the ruthless mercantile spirit of King James.

      I think Daniel Fox might make an effort to annex part of the OSR into his domain. He has been interacting with OSR drama and was seen on the OSR logo drama field as well as after the Zak debacle. I don’t think his “OBLITERATE THE HARASSER WITHOUT MERCY” stance is going to do him much good in the long run though. I am betting a relentless, merciless advance until he slips up or he destroys the wrong target, followed by a quick fall.

      The fragmentation will be good. Some information hub or review-site would be very useful in such a situation. I think Bryce could be OSR king if he wanted to. Emminently likeable, nonpartisan, strong stances on gaming, reasonably intelligent but not elitist, psychotic dedication, already consults on adventures etc. etc.

      Like

    1. Your conclusion (Zak was an asshole to people for years, so now no one is willing to stand up for him) is so true.

      His statement is really interesting if you look at it from a certain point of view.

      First of all he created a new blog simply to post the statement. Still silence on his personal twitter and his DnDwithPornstars blog (There is a bit on the DnDwithPornstars twitter tough).
      Seems to me that he tries to distance himself (his name, his “brand”) from the whole deal as much as possible. Not a very promising start to this … You have to own up to such stuff in at least a minimal amount.

      The statement itself has another few intersting points going on.

      The whole laywer thing is bullshit, I think … no sane laywer would advise anyone to create such a statement. I see it more of a thinly veiled threat to his “enemies”.

      The whole thing is basically a textbook case of DARVO
      Deny, Attack and Reverse Victim and Offender
      He paints himself as the poor romantic who did everything in his power to help his ex and others … and now they want to destroy him.
      He tries to defute some of the claims made … and ignores others competely.

      The structure of his arguments and the logic behind them also seems very … muddy and strange … Reading the thing I got the strong feeling, that he sometimes simply doesn’t get what this is all about.

      He tries to create pity for himself very openly … while deflecting all guilt to other parties (she wanted it, He had no idea, he wasn’t told,…)

      The whole statement shows an enormous lack of introspection or even the basic abilty to accept guilt for one wrongdoings.

      Even if he didn’t do anything wrong and all of this is really just made up …
      well, silence would have been better than this statement.

      Like

      1. “The whole laywer thing is bullshit, I think … no sane laywer would advise anyone to create such a statement. I see it more of a thinly veiled threat to his “enemies”.”

        Yes, and not only that. Read the sentence carefully, and note the use of the word “our”:

        “Sorry for three days’ silence—Mandy’s post included serious accusations and our friends told me to talk to a lawyer.”

        “Our” friends? I believe he means his and Mandy’s mutual friends. You see the things he is trying to imply with that one word?

        Like

      2. Yeah …
        Undermining Mandys position by implying that mutual friends exist and that they support him and not her.
        Lessening the severity of Mandys claims by implying that they still share a circle of friends that haven’t abandoned Zak.

        You know … the only thing I don’t really get is if zak really believes what he posted or if this is all a coldly calculated move in his “wartime” strategy.

        Does he really think he is the poor misunderstood sob that tried to do everything right?
        My gut tells me this is all an act on his part … like you said …

        “A normal person accused of such things would be filled with so much sadness and rage that they could never write something like that.”

        Like

      3. Magnificent. Inhuman only by its sterile perfection, its sharklike manipulation. It reads like a thing out of fiction. Untouched by a calamity that would lay low any normal man, he writes unmoved, grieving but understanding, a Christ on his lonely mountain cross. Easily the best thing he ever wrote. I understand why all his settings are potemkin villages now. Because that’s how he views the world.

        “The whole statement shows an enormous lack of introspection or even the basic abilty to accept guilt for one wrongdoings.”

        YES! You saw it! ‘

        “You know … the only thing I don’t really get is if zak really believes what he posted or if this is all a coldly calculated move in his “wartime” strategy.”

        There is no difference.

        Dark Triad confirmed.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. [Best thing he ever wrote]

        OK that’s pretty funny, but it’s not far off. There’s a fucking literary flow to this thing. You ever sit down to write an email and think “how do I get this started?” Imagine that feeling when you’re writing something to publicly refute accusations of sexual and emotional abuse. Well, apparently Zak didn’t find that terribly daunting. This thing just flows beautifully from the jump.

        “Inhuman only by its sterile perfection, its sharklike manipulation.”…yeah, sounds right to me. Fucking gross. If I didn’t know Zak and I wasn’t paying attention, I could imagine possibly being fooled by something like that.

        Like

      5. [Best thing he ever wrote]
        The thing has a certain beauty to it with its cold disregard for actual human emotions.
        I can understand why he took 3 days to write it.
        The flow of it really is magnificent.

        “If I didn’t know Zak and I wasn’t paying attention, I could imagine possibly being fooled by something like that.”
        From all I have seen of the guy the past years this seems to be his normal modus operandi.
        Surely one of the reasons he “survived” that many shitstorms, scandals and outrages … in the end he always managed to spin the whole thing just enough to convince enough people to keep going.

        [Dark Triad]
        Yeah … reads like a checklist for his behaviour.

        [Reactions to the statement]
        Judging from the other folks in the osr on reddit and some blogs … basically no one is buying it.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Venger, are you being taken in by Zak’s post? It sounds like this has muddied the waters for you. For me, it’s actually done the opposite. It was just way too slick and calculated. He’s sweetly patronizing of an ex-wife who is accusing him of rape and abuse. A normal person accused of such things would be filled with so much sadness and rage that they could never write something like that. I’ve interacted too much with Zak (i.e. a couple of times on a forum) to buy this Mr. Sweet and Reasonable bullshit. Give me a break, don’t be a sucker.

      Like

  5. So I’ve skimmed through “The Saviours of God” and it’s interesting. I love the prose and there are some lovely sentiments. It seems strongly inspired by Gnosticism as far as I can tell. It’s cool and all, but not really my jam. I mean, there’s nothing I see that I take major issue with, but I have a hard time getting into the headspace of Mr. Kazantzakis. He’s very exuberant in a way that I can’t quite share.

    Like

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