Artist and do-gooder Satine Phoenix and Meltdown Comics are doing a very cool D&D fundraiser from 1 to 6 today (Pacific time) which you don’t need to live in LA to enjoy. For a minimum donation of $1, you get live video access to one of four tables all playing the same adventure, written by Keith Baker (creator of Eberron, originator of the Tower of Gygax concept). If this sounds interesting, RSVP to the Facebook event page and let the many squamous tentacles of your social network spread the word: proceeds from the event go to support the LA branch of REACH OUT AND READ, an organization whose mission – getting books and support to help kids in need develop a love of reading – all gamers should be able to get behind, Stonepunks notwithstanding.
Here is why this event should be interesting:
- Zak S. has a great post, which I am too lazy to search for as it is hidden among a hundred thousand similarly great posts, in which he talks about how watching or listening to recorded games (in which you aren’t present to exert an observer effect) can teach you how little the rules matter by seeing how much groups using the same rules differ. Today’s event carries the experiment even further by having four groups use not only the same rules but the same adventure; the fact that they’re simultaneous can also (assuming you make separate donations to get the live feed from each table) let you learn about timing by switching back and forth between groups to see how far they’re progressing, which points they’re spending time on and which they’re breezing past, etc.
- The setup is likewise good for revealing personality: how do different players handle the same challenge? Viewers of I Hit It With My Axe are already familiar with Connie and Satine’s respective problem-solving styles; likewise Dan Milano from the Robot Chicken D&D videos. I also recognize John Zurr-Platten from the list of confirmed guests, who I’ve greatly enjoyed talking to at Gary Con but haven’t played with; your list of celebrities is likely different than mine, check it out and see whose roleplaying style you’d like to witness!
- Keith Baker is one of the DMs as well as the writer of the adventure, so those interested in the “designer in a box” problem will likely find it instructive to see how the scenario in his hands differs from the way the other DMs run it.
Plus, as mentioned, the event supports a good cause. It’s by no means the first charity event Satine has put together with Meltdown and some of the same suspects- here’s a description of a previous iteration:
Keith Baker a designer of the Eberron setting from D&D Satine Phoenix, connie and Zak Smith from from I Hit It With My Axe, Dan Milano from Cartoon Network’s Robot Chicken and John Zurr Platten who is the writer of the The Chronicles of Riddick games and a load more all met at Meltdown Comics in downtown Los Angeles and played Dungeons and Dragons to raise money for charity. There were a lot of great artists and photographers who also played and not only that but they documented the event and created representations of the events of the story in each of the games. Wizards of the Coast were happy to supply a load of 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons materials. Food as also provided by Mars Hot Dogs, Jersey Mikes in West Hollywood and Shipyard Beer. This event was trying to encourage attendees to donate to the JVS Literacy Network, which is a charity established to help and support people who are down on luck. All the proceeds from this event went towards this charity including any sales of photographs and artwork.
Renae Geerlings also has a play report here.
What’s unique about this event is the livestream aspect that lets people all over the world watch these games. As someone who’s interested in gaming fundraisers, but no longer lives in LA where Satine is cooking up some of the most exciting ones, this is something that I want to support.
If you can’t watch the event live, I feel your pain – my White Sandbox session today means I’ll miss it too. Fortunately, a the adventure Keith wrote is available for $5 donation, so if folks talk about what they got out watching the webcast (as I hope they will) I can use that to kind of follow along at home. And perhaps in future Satine & crew will record as well as stream the events.