Posts Tagged ‘outreach

24
Jan
13

Gygax Magazine Unboxing and Beyond

If you’ll be in Brooklyn this Saturday I look forward to seeing you at the Gygax Magazine unboxing! If so be sure to RSVP via their website, if not there will be streaming video of the event and some other online goings-on that’ll make checking the site that day worth your while.

Gygax unboxing

To the right is the flyer from the event, reusing an illustration by Ryan Browning – the PCs to the right killing orcs with ventriloquism belong to him and Zak, plus my elf Locfir from the original Dwimmermount PbP. Here’s the text on the back:

GYGAX MAGAZINE

PREMIERE ISSUE RELEASE

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

1:30 PM

* Magazines available for purchase at 2:00 PM

Join us for a full day of gaming: D&D, Savage Worlds, Marvel RPG, and more

Plus 1st edition AD&D with Dwarven Forge!

I’ve had the pleasure of helping the rebirth of TSR from the start – I think only founder Jayson Elliott and Games Content Editor James Carpio are senior to me. For a while my title was Guy Who Introduces Jayson To Former TSR Employees which was a lot of fun, but around the time that the magazine emerged as the most promising thing TSR could do as its launch Jayson got sucked up actually making that happen and I became busy with other stuff too.

Once the magazine was thrust into the spotlight the title I chose for myself was Events Coordinator, although something with outreach in the name would probably be better. The reason I’m excited to be part of an ambitious, old-fashioned print magazine is the opportunities it affords to draw gamers together the way the letters column in wargaming zines did for guys on the magazine’s masthead like Tim Kask and Ernie Gygax, and to be the mystique-laden physical artifact that draws outsiders in the way zines like Factsheet Five did for the generation Jayson and I come from.

To be an Events Coordinator is well and good, except that I have twins on the way next week (I didn’t commit to running anything at the event in case they were early) and a day job and a hobby job with Autarch so I do not lack for interesting times. Thus if you want to see Gygax Magazine become a force for making cool events happen you should not expect me to do it all for you. Specific ways you can help:

  1. If there is something happening that you think the kind of people who’d dig Gygax Magazine would enjoy, let me know and I’ll add it to the calendar. Eventually we’ll have a more formal way to do so but for now you can comment here or email/G+ me at barnar.hammerhand@gmail.com.
  2. If you are in the tri-state area – which is the low-hanging fruit we can use to demonstrate “here are the kinds of things Gygax Magazine thinks its audience might enjoy” – is Bushwick outside your comfortable travel range?
silent barn

This shot from the DIY Dungeons @ Silent Barn is fan service for the kids in my afterschool class who’ll excited to see the Minecraft creeper. Also pictured: Inna from Butter the Children, who headlined the show later that night.

This Monday DIY Dungeons put on a successful event at Silent Barn, a DIY space that’s just opened in a bigger location, 603 Bushwick Avenue, at the beginning of the year. They’re also doing a Babycastles game jam so are clearly our kind of peeps.

The thing Jayson and I were thinking is missing from our local gaming scene is a purely social gathering. We’ve got convention gaming with nerdNYC’s quarterly Recess, Organized Play and the self-organized kind with the world’s biggest D&D Meetup group, plus groups predominantly focused on actual play like New York Red Box. The thing we don’t usually have (and NYRB always seems eager for more of) is a chance to hang out with one another and other gamers and our friends who maybe aren’t gamers yet but are open to having a good time. This kind of get-together is easy to organize when it’s nice outside, but in the winter a place like Silent Barn is ideal. However, nerdNYC’s Terry, for whom I have mad respect, thinks that Bushwick is one subway transfer too many for most of the folks who come to Recess.

If you have an informed opinion on these matters I am eager to hear it. If not, I encourage you to think about where you might want to get together with folks in the place where you live, and then make it happen and tell me about it so I can put it on Gygax’s calendar.

Advertisements
21
Dec
12

DIY Dungeons

In my recent post about posers and players I talked about a comment requesting that my fellow Mules and I, being hipsters who have ruined everything else, would leave D&D alone for those who genuinely enjoy playing the game. I would claim not to be a hipster, except I don’t wantdiy dungeons to miss out on my share of what must be a sizable XP award for ruining everything in the modern world. Also it is undeniably true that I organize RPG events  in places like art galleries and DIY spaces where people wearing skinny jeans are known to congregate.

The latest such venture is DIY Dungeons, which benefits tremendously from the access to non-conventional gaming spaces conferred by my co-organizers Ray Weiss and Tim Hutchings’ local cred as a musician and an artist, respectively. My contribution is just to think about how to make RPGs function as a party game – meaning that they’re immediately accessible whether or not folks have played before, and structured in a way that people can sit down and get involved whenever they arrive (like we do at parties, unlike how we do at most RPG sessions) and easily move on to whatever else they like to do at parties after they get a taste of the gaming experience.

The next DIY Dungeons event is tomorrow night. 12/12, at a DIY space called Olive Garden. I don’t really understand what DIY spaces are, but a common element seems to be naming them for things they are not; one of the precursors to this series of events was the Everything is Dolphins release party held at Shea Stadium, which has no more relationship to baseball than tomorrow’s venue does to Italian food. (Playing in an actual Olive Garden would rock, though.) Here’s the description for the game I’ll be running:

CONQUERORS OF BRONX RIVER ROAD. The zombie apocalypse is here! Can you rebuild civilization using your wits, nerve, and the resources you can loot from the neighborhood around you? In this hack of the Adventurer Conqueror King roleplaying game, you’ll play yourself struggling to survive in a bleak future by fortifying a stronghold, recruiting other survivors, and decapitating zombies with chainsaws.

Over at the ACKS G+ community people hoping this presaged the release of Adventurer, Conqueror, Mutant Badger wanted more details about this hack, and a previous one that mashed up ACKS and XXXXtreme Street Luge. (The latter scenario took its cue from the intro to the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon, where Bobby, Shiela, et al. wind up in fantasyland after going on a roller-coaster ride. The ACKS characters had discovered this portal and taken the trip in the other direction – I found a great map of Knott’s Berry Farm circa 1983 as a prop to show the strange land they discovered. The XXXXtreme Street Luge characters, meanwhile, had broken into the amusement park, shut down after kids disappeared on the roller coaster, and were using it as a racing venue). Here’s the skinny:

They’re designed for a particular goal – being able to get new players going very quickly and also letting them get up from the table 15 minutes later if they want to move on – and aren’t meant for anyone but me to be able to run (so nothing is written down). That said:

– In XXXXtreme Street Luge you quickly randomize characters and then players take turns in the spotlight. Each other player asks the spotlight player “In this made-up circumstance, how did you deal with the situation using this particular stat?” The ACKS mashup uses the same GMless narrated-action-after-the-fact approach (so it’s functioning more like a storytelling game) but turns it on its head – players take turns in the role of party leader, in which they invent a problem and then ask the other players “How does your character help us get out of this jam?”

– The zombie hack relies on a) converting ACKS gp into a genre-appropriate unit of exchange (a day’s food); b) squinting at the ACKS price list until a chainsaw looks like a sword and a Corvette looks like a light riding horse; c) using pennies to represent gp and track encumbrance; d) building a map of the real-world location on the table as stacks of coins: if you capture the auto parts store, you’ll be able to loot this many resources, which you can then spend to fortify other map locations. The “you play your character” thing is mostly there to make it easy to get into the game – you just think about what you’d do in this situation – and mechanically means that everyone is a fighter with average stats, except that if a +1, 2, or 3 bonus would mean they’d succeed I’ll give the player a chance to tell me why their abilities would help in this situation and then convert that to a 3-18 score.

I’m interested in doing every kind of outreach for RPGs I can arrange, whether it’s to hipsters or kids 8-12. One of the things DIY Dungeons has been able to achieve that other approaches like the afterschool class (formerly D&D, now ACKS) has not is to achieve a better gender balance than I usually see at conventions and gamedays. Here are some pictures from the first event, at the Clocktower Gallery, where we had to talk loud to be heard over the sound of a robot gamelan installation:

50% of the women at this table had played D&D before (which is to say Anne, in red on my left) so maybe my observations about usual gender balance say more about me.

Ray running his new game Cyberpanky N.O.W., scenario “McDonald’s Mercs”; cyperpunk proved to be an immediately relatable genre even for non-gamers.

Brian, from the band The Nuclears, running a Call of Cthulu scenario set in the Sex Pistols’ London; this also proved immediately accessible.

My experience so far has been that convincing people to try role-playing games at these venues is an exercise in anti-hipsterdom. My job is to say Hi, I’m glad I’ve caught your attention with these colorful dice and maps! In addition to being aesthetic objects for your aloof, ironic appraisal, these are used in game I hope you will sit down and genuinely enjoy right now. You can choose whatever degree of distance from the events in the game works for you. Me, I’m going to fully commit to having a good time, goofy voices and all.

If you’re in or near the Bronx tomorrow, come out and join us at 5 pm (or whenever if you want to put my easy drop-in goal to the test). Gaming will go on until around 9, when the bands Cave Cricket, Old Table, and The Widest Smiling Faces will make it too loud to hear one another’s funny voices. If that’s too short notice, the next DIY Dungeons events will be on 1/4 at Big Snow and 1/20 at Silent Barn. Hope to see you there!

27
Sep
12

Dolphins Rape People, Brooklyn 9/30/12

On my way to the Games that Can’t Be Named where I first saw people playing Everything is Dolphins, I came across a DOLPHINS RAPE PEOPLE sticker on Houston St. (This is apparently both true and part of a viral marketing campaign, in which I guess I am now complicit.)

The synchronicity was every bit as weird as the intrusion of rape culture into my daily life. I had to Google dickwolves, although I do run into prison rape jokes often enough that it’s my current go-to answer for “what aspect of contemporary life is like slavery in that we accept it as normal in a way future generations will be horrified by”. (In college the popular candidate was “eating meat,” but I say to hell with that. My grandkids will no doubt be freaked out when they realize that their dad grew up eating meat that came from killing animals instead of cells grown in a vat, but that’ll take a lot of figuring out.)

I bring this up because I’ll be playing Everything is Dolphins this Sunday at the game’s release party, which is being held at the Brooklyn DIY space confusingly called Shea Stadium. I have no fear that dolphins raping people will be part of the fictional events because I’ve played with many of the GMs who are listed as running Dolphins at the event and they are good-hearted folks, Ray’s Cyberpanky N.O.W. – an homage to R. Talsorian’s trying too hard to be edgy back in the day – notwithstanding.

As a rule we’re on the wrong continent for LARPing gang rape, which I also had to Google after Jason Morningstar opened my eyes to games that mess with the concept of “the bleed” during a highly enjoyable lunch at Durham’s Backyard BBQ Pit. I can well imagine a scenario in James’ proposed Watchmen campaign where Adrian Veight decided to invent Gang Rape to avert Armageddon between old-schoolers and story-gamers by giving them a common RPG enemy – although Jason and I are hardly our respective sides’ ideal cold warriors, and when I was in Oslo I had a great time hanging out with Matthijs whose description of We Eat Murder seems to me equally likely to have been a Veight Ent. fakery designed to unite Americans in nerd-rage.

Anyways reasons you might care about the Everything is Dolphins release party:

  1. If you are in the NYC area, or just like to know that gaming is happening in non-traditional spaces and reaching different audiences, this is Shea Stadium’s inaugural event of this kind. I hope that it’ll be successful enough to be the first of many. Come out and show your support! Tell your friends!
  2.  Dolphins publisher PlaGMaDA, the Play-Generated Maps and Documents Archive, continues to hatch stuff of interest to gamers everywhere. They’ve recently launched a Kickstarter to fund a book of ’80s fan-created D&D modules, The Habitition of the Stone Giant Lord & Other Adventures (which you can see in the archive here), and the Wired piece on it in their October issue also mentions that they’re raising money to make Dave Arneson’s papers available to the public through the archive:

Here’s the info on the event this Saturday – see you there!

We cordially invite you to a free party at Shea Stadium for the release of Ray Weiss’s first pen and paper role playing game, Everything is Dolphins. Here’s the list of activities.from 5 – 8, several dudes from bands (and otherwise) will be running games of EiD. Including:Eric Harm of Titus Andronicus

Brian Dudolevitch of The NuclearsHillary Livingston of Baby CastlesRay Weiss, author / of Butter The Children.(each table should be able to support 2-6 players)————————————————

At 8 begins a full fledged dance party featuring.

8PM DJ Mike Mckeever (Life Size Maps)

9PM DJ TBA

10PM DJ Zack Staggers (So So Glos)

11 DJ Baby Castles (Awesome DIY Video Games)

————————————————

Copies of the game will be on sale at the party.

Goodies like shirts, sample adventures, and other cool shit all on sale for cheap.

Free Admission.

All Ages

20 Meadow Street, L train to Grand.

__
_.-~ )
_..–~~~~,’ ,-/ _
.-‘. . . .’ ,-‘,’ ,’ )
,’. . . _ ,–~,-‘__..-‘ ,’
,’. . . (@)’ —~~~~ ,’
/. . . . ‘~~ ,-‘
/. . . . . ,-‘
; . . . . – . ,’
: . . . . _ /
. . . . . `-.:
. . . ./ – . )
. . . | _____..—.._/ ____
~—~~~~—-~~~~ ~~

11
Jul
12

Hoping to See You at Gen Con

In hopes of getting together with Mule readers at Gen Con 2012, here is a rundown of stuff I’ll be doing at the convention:

  • I’ll be running an Adventurer Conqueror King mini-campaign Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening after the exhibit hall closes, going as long into the night as our stamina permits. It’ll be a casual, open-table affair, with easy drop-in/drop-out. I’ll have pre-generated characters at all three levels, or you can bring your own Adventurers, Conquerors, or Kings rolled up using the rules for starting characters at higher level. For that matter, you can bring characters from whatever other RPG you may have, subject to the usual “your ring of wishes doesn’t work on this plane” revision. Folks are welcome to play for one or multiple nights. Location TBD; leave a comment if you’re interested, and I’ll keep you up to date on where we’ll wind up.
  • During the exhibit hall hours, I will typically be at the Old-School Renaissance Group booth, #1359. I’ll be glad to sell you a copy of ACKS, answer questions about upcoming projects, and share enthusiasm for all manner of cool gaming stuff.

The major exception to my general plan to be at OSRG booth while it’s open will be the seminars and panels I’ll be doing as part of the Industry Insider track. Here are a rundown of the ones I’m part of, presented chronologically & with links to their info:

Can’t make Gen Con this year? CONcurrent will be running during the Best Four Days in Gaming to provide a host of gaming sessions and related discussions using G+; register here if that looks like fun. I won’t be taking part myself, but I will be doing another panel via G+ hangout about Kickstarter and Indie Game Development between now and then. You can watch it live this Thursday at 7 pm EDT, and the video of the session will also be posted on YouTube.

20
Apr
12

I’m a Third Level Gen Con Industry Insider Guest of Honor

I am proud to make two announcements concerning yesterday’s events:

  • My Glantri character, Gael Ur-Boss, reached third level – the greatest such achievement of any PC I’ve played in Quendalon’s campaign!
  • I was announced as one of the Industry Insider Guests of Honor for Gen Con ’12.

Particular reasons I care about these announcements:

  • Playing Glantri is fun. Having a character who is more capable will make it more fun (although it is to be noted that third level is nowhere near making Gael a force to be reckoned with in any Glantrian party these days).
  • Doing panels and workshops is fun. Having a larger audience resulting from the extra publicity from these being on the Industry Insider track will make it more fun (although it is likely that the bulk of this audience will be attracted by those GoHs more illustrious than myself: Wolgang Baur, Stan!, Dennis Detwiller, James Ernest, Matt Forbeck, Jess Hartley, Kenneth Hite, Steve Kenson, T.S. Luikart, Michelle Lyons, Ryan Macklin, Dominic McDowall-Thomas, Jason Morningstar, Susan Morris , Mark Rein-Hagen, Elizabeth Shoemaker-Sampat, Gareth-Michael Skarka, Christina Stiles, George Strayton, Richard Thomas, Rodney Thompson, and James Wyatt).
It’s a truism that no one wants to hear about your character. I’m deliberately drawing a parallel by talking about my beloved Gael (did I tell you that s/he got a +1 to Constitution just from becoming a six-year-old orc instead of a five-year-old one, even before s/he leveled up?) in the same breath as my Gen Con appearances. These are games you can play within the world of roleplaying. If you invest enough time and effort, you’ll get a recognition which is meaningful to the other players in your group.  But even should you make it to name level, it’s still a game that’s pretty uninteresting to anyone not intimately involved.
That said, here are some reasons you might care about these announcements nonetheless:
  • You will be adventuring in Glantri and need a comrade with not zero, not one, but two whole first-level cleric spells!
  • You will be at Gen Con this summer and might be interested in stuff I’ll talk about at the panels and workshops I’ll be on.

Panels etc. are yet to be determined, but here are the ones I said I “would feel comfortable hosting” in the application to be an Insider GoH:

Fund Your Game Project with Kickstarter (panel)             

From publishing your RPG or boardgame to opening a gaming café, learn how crowdfunding can help you achieve your dream from those who have succeeded (and failed) with Kickstarter.

Raising Money for Charity with Gaming Events (workshop)

Learn how you can use your gaming skills to help a good cause by studying previous examples, getting practical advice, and participating in a celebrity roleplaying event to raise money for a gaming-related charity.

Record and Share Your Roleplaying Sessions (workshop)

Podcasts and actual play videos are increasingly popular as ways to share the excitement of your games and help bring new players into the hobby. Learn how to get started!

Teaching Games (panel)

Educators, parents, and kids share their experiences with programs that introduce kids to gaming, from school curricula to homeschooling to summer camps, and pass on advice and inspiration.

Getting Paid to GM (panel)

A survey of professional opportunities for roleplaying gamemasters and advice on how to get started.

Lunch hour being over, I should get back to the business of Getting Paid to Have a Day Job, but will perhaps come back to this topic (or ones raised in comments) in future.

07
Apr
12

Mixing Virtual and In-the-Room Players in a RPG Session

Tomorrow, Saturday April 7th from 3pm to 6pm Pacific Daylight Time, I will be running a Dwimmermount session using Adventurer Conqueror King on G+. In addition to the usual 4 other players that G+ bandwidth supports, my son Javi and from 1-4 of his cousins aged 10-14 will be joining the party.

When I played 4e with George Strayton’s group, one of the players was often George’s brother in LA, participating via videoconference. In this case, there were so many more people physically present that having one there virtually didn’t make much of an impact. I am interested to see what it will be like with a more even mix of PCs in the room and not. Does anyone else have experience with a similar setup?

As someone who likes to play with big tables, one of G+’s limitations that I chafe at the most is the bandwidth restriction that causes video to break down after about five different channels are active. However, a promising way around this is to have each channel represent multiple players. Following up on my recent exploration of using callers, presumably each group of people gathered around a computer would have one of them announcing their sub-party’s action to the Judge, who coordinates the inputs of everyone on G+ (as well as the players in the room with the Judge) and then describes the results to all.

This is something I’ll be looking to experiment with more in weeks to come. For now, if you’re interested and available Sat April 7th from 3-6 PM Reno, Nevada time  (which is to say, Sunday April 8 from 7-10 AM Seoul time) let me know in the comments or drop me a line at tavis.allison@gmail.com – if you can get some other players together to play in the room with you while we G+ with the players in the room with me, so much the better!

ADDENDUM: We’ll roll PCs at the start of the session, or you’re welcome to use a first- or second-level character from whatever fantasy RPG you like; I’ll work up more detailed FLAILSNAILS conventions if there’s demand. We’ll do mapping on paper held up to the camera and to the people in the room; dice will be done physically by whoever is making the roll, we’ll trust you.

25
Mar
12

Zombies Don’t Have Gender

Image

The other day I was reminded that I never posted how things went when Javi was DMing at Anonycon.

The quick summary is that he had a great time and was eager to do it again this weekend. He has not yet learned practical aspects of the craft: if you let the players buy dragons at the ride shop in town, or pour the M&Ms GaryCon’s DM concierge service brought him onto the table and say “everybody take four”, it will take a long time to get everyone to focus on the dungeon again. However I am filled with pride that he knows that dragon-riding and candy-coated chocolate are good ways to awesome up your players.

Quote from the player of the druid Layla, sitting to the left of the GM screen: “Skeletons don’t have gender.”

Quote from Javi, boasting to a spectator: ‘I’m draining levels!”

Javi played in two other all-kids games earlier at GaryCon. Friday’s was very expertly run by the player of Sir George, identifiable in the picture above by his black gm lanyard. Saturday’s Haunted Keep was run by Paul Stormberg, who taught me that bringing a treasure chest full of coins, jewels, potions, wands, and cloaks is a great way to awesome up kids especially; he kept them enthralled for seven hours (!).




Past Adventures of the Mule

November 2017
M T W T F S S
« Jan    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

RPG Bloggers Network

RPG Bloggers Network

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog & get email notification of updates.

Join 1,050 other followers