So these are exciting times. Three people today have sent me an article about other professional DMs around the world (many of whom charge a damnsite more than I do), and this hobby that was just barely sticking its nose out from its niche back in the mid 2000’s when I was learning to play is suddenly an industry that’s riding the growing e-sports and game-streaming trend to prosperity and greatness, spurred on by the likes of us who dare to charge the uninitiated into the ranks of character creators and story tellers.
And it’s not just Bloomberg who have sat up and taken notice.
Comics Salopia in June was a great experience, my second attempt at a formal trade table at a big local event, and while the weather may have soured interest on the Sunday, the Saturday saw a table constantly surrounded by people curious about the game and the experience it could provide. I ran a quick game based on three stats and simple stories that could see people learn a game, play it, and go within half an hour to enjoy the rest of their day. Visually it was also an upgrade on my last attempt, where at Coxcon 2018 I only had the boat and some posters, this time my table was furnished with a branded DM screen and dice tray, things that drew the eye of casual passers by, even though my neighbour had a stand bedecked in glorious artwork.
Well, as it transpired I caught the attention of members of my local BBC radio station, who keenly invited me on to chat with Jim Hawkins about the hobby and the business. Nervous though I may have been, I had a great conversation with my host, managed not to swear (many of you are fully aware of what a feat that is), and even inspired another player to call in and chat about his experiences of the game.
This link comes with an expiration date of some time around the 23rd of this month, this month being July 2019 for all you future people.
GenCon and Insomnia65
Yesterday I found out that the Wednesday before GenCon is a street party, a meet and greet for attendees with street food vendors. Sounds pretty damn good for getting to know people and getting over jetlag and acclimatising to a new city. I have seen a lot of the other event options, and to be honest, having missed the boat on the Critical Role live, I’m content to work out the rest of my first american event on the fly.
I have two weeks, a gig at Oswestry Library, and then back to the NEC for my second Insomnia, this time I’ll be taking a collection of Planeshift games, the modified Magic: the Gathering planes playable in D&D. Amonkhet players will participate in Rhonas’ trial of Strength for the honour of his cartouche and the blessing of the God Pharaoh; in Zendikar an expedition hunts down an Eldrazi horror in the twisting landscape; and on New Phyrexia, agents of the Machine Orthodoxy seek those who resist Compleation. That, and I’ll be bringing a few experiments. Get hyped nerds! I’ve seen some of what Moley’s bringing too, it’s going to be a good weekend.
Meadsbridge, Three-Game Format, and Venues
Meadsbridge is proving moderately successful, we have twenty players, a few of whom can only play very infrequently, and some haven’t started yet, but there are narrative moments, deaths, treasures, and finally the story quests are starting to rear their ugly heads like some great continent-sized hydra.
I read someone commenting on a post asking for traits of a great DM and saw something I’d never seen encouraged before, and that is the three-game narrative. An enclosed story arc, it may be continued in a future arc, or may be a continuation in itself, but there is a definitive three act/game structure drawing to a satisfactory(ish) conclusion. I like it, I want to run it, so I’m planning on bringing some games to Oswestry Library that would require a three-session commitment but would offer something of greater substance than the one-shots most people have grown accustomed to. A running story line, characters to engage with, consequences, meaningful rewards, and with any luck a satisfying conclusion.
I’m also talking to a few more places around Shrewsbury itself who are interested in a professional Dungeon Master, so watch this space. Actually there a few spaces you should watch. I might be at some of them soon after August.