Friday, April 3, 2020

The Friday Grab Bag - All Good Things Must Have a Beginning

It has been quite some time since last I posted here on the blog and a lot has changed.  2019 ended and 2020 began, my 1E AD&D face-to-face campaign came to an end, I started a new streaming vlog called The Okay Grognard Show, and a global pandemic forced Gary Con to cancel along with every other gamer gathering that would have taken place worldwide.  If the last part of that sentence is news to you, maybe you need to pay closer attention.  There's not much I can personally do about the global pandemic other than my part, to shelter in place, so this blog post will focus on the aforementioned gaming things.

The Okay Grognard Show has become one of the new ways I am interacting on the Internet.  It's mainly a Twitch-based streaming broadcast whose content changes with my needs.  I've done some follow-along Photoshopping of maps and illustration coloring, chatting with house-bound friends while becoming better acquainted with Roll20, the online RPGing software, and I've taken a walk down memory lane while checking out pictures from the early Gary Cons.  For those interested in doing something similar, I downloaded some software from OBS, set up a Twitch account (did this part years ago), and began sharing content.  It's that simple.  We'll see if any of it proves watchable as I become more proficient and comfortable with the process.

Another activity I'm including in the stream has been live, casual readings of literature from the public domain.  In my first effort, I chose Robert E. Howard's Gods of the North (AKA The Frost Giant's Daughter).  There were a few stumbles but that's the nature of a live performance and if I recorded it and tried to make it perfect, like an audiobook, it would become a much more involved process, one I have no time to handle.  My every waking moment would have to become about nothing but the readings and I only want that to be a portion of what the Show can do.

By the by, Tom Wham won the 2020 E. Gary Gygax Lifetime Achievement Award and I am hoping we'll get to game together online, as if we were at Culver's, using some sort of online platform.  Zoom seems to be a questionable choice right now because of some vulnerability issues that need shoring up but I'll give him a call later and see what is possible.  I know Wendy is ready to go with several possibilities and Brad is game to try something, anything.  We will see.

I'll be spending much of the next few days becoming even more familiar with Roll20.  It's likely the best way forward for running 1E AD&D games in the near future and will require me to learn a lot in a very short time.  If you have any suggestions for tutorials, I've had some suggestions and I'm already absorbing them, but keep them coming!  I can use all the help I can get.  In the mean time, get yourself a Twitch account if you don't have one already and go to The Okay Grognard Show channel AND FOLLOW.  It's an easy, and free way, to support the show and help me with whatever I am doing.  More to come . . .

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Sunday, February 23, 2020

Gary Con Event Registration for GMs

TLDR: I love being an 18hrs+ Gary Con GM and will continue to love it until they bury me with my 1E AD&D DMG on my chest and my DM screen over my eyes.

However, apropos of the recent server difficulties, Gary Con could take some pressure off the servers by letting GMs who run 18hrs+ worth of games register along with the gold badge attendees, or just after but before the silver badge attendees.  We don't take many tickets, because we're working so many hours, and it's harder to find games to fit our schedule.  This is in part due to our schedule being mostly set long before event registration, which means we can't swap around time slots as easily as someone building a full con schedule from the ground up once the events are revealed.  You can imagine how often I've seen the event schedule and realized there is one particular game or another each year in a slot I've already committed to GM something.

Still, I'd imagine there must be enough of us to make some difference on the server.  How many 18hrs+ GMs are there?  I guess it's been the same as the number of GM t-shirts for the last few years.  Maybe gold level registration could be a 24hrs+ GM perk?

Personally, I stopped vying for VIP games a long time ago, to leave those seats for newer attendees.  There aren't many top dogs and/or former TSR folks around who I haven't gamed with at some point over the years, so I have felt it best, as a general policy since GC II or III, to let some others enjoy that experience.  I'm sure for many it is a large part of why they attend Gary Con.  So, too, I play all sorts of games (wargames, RPGs, boardgames, card games, etc), so it is likely less touble than for some others.  I'd bet there are some Gary Con GMs who mainly RPG or who come to Gary Con strictly for the wargaming, which is what I primarily like to do as there tends to be less of this year round for me with each passing year.  For those folks it can be much tougher to find games in which to play and recharge the batteries before getting back to those GMing duties.

(Cue Yon Yonson and a couple of others pointing out they GM 40hrs+!)

Don't get me wrong, the free admission at silver badge level, the free GM t-shirt, and other perks are super nice and very generous.  I love them all!  And make no mistake, I love GMing and those of us who do it for 18hrs+ do it mainly because it is what we love to do.  We do it most of our gaming life and we'd likely do it at Gary Con for even fewer rewards, though I am loathe to admit it and probably risking the wrath of my fellow 18hrs+ GMs by mentioning this.  I also know that this post will come off as largely self-serving.  But being able to be a bit more selective registering for events in the slots we have available as 18hrs+ GMs would be a treasure worth its weight in triple experience points!  Thank you for indulging me by taking the time to read this post.

(I snagged the GM t-shirt artwork example from the Intrawebs)