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[Blog] Finally. Time to talk about D&D Next

February 12, 2012 Comments off

Actually, this isn’t true. I’m not talking about D&D Next. I don’t know much about D&D Next, other than I know some very smart people are working on it. They’re doing some neat things by listening & engaging the community while urging people put the “Edition Wars” aside.

And now I’m excited about playing tabletop RPGs again.

I have a confession; I don’t play RPGs. I LOVE RPGs, but I’m so completely spoiled from my first group. So much that I’d rather not play at all, and get disappointed about a bad group.

I’ve played some RPGs over the years; one offs or a couple sessions. It is easy to get into pick up groups with the support for D&D Encounters, RPGA, and game stores running sessions with volunteers.

I don’t want to play that kind of game. I want a campaign. I want the characters and story to matter. I want to care about my character; I want to slowly let the character’s history & future develop. I mean, you’re starting at level 1, not knowing anything. You kinda suck at everything and as you level, you gain new skills.

To me, your character should also be discovering more about who they are.

That, my friends, is why I love RPGs. I love the ability to play in an amazing world of lore & legend, all the while creating a part of the big story. When you have others in you group and a DM who LOVES characters & growth, you create something beyond each individual.

I tease a lot about missing THACO (because it was a mechanic I understood) but I’m not too fussed really about mechanics, if the story is good. I take that back. If I’m spending more time rolling dice, trying to do so many maths with modifiers, I get disappointed to easily.


I’ll use Shadowrun 3E as an example. I LOVE Shadowrun. The lore, that is. I read numerous SR novels when they came out in the early 90s. When I finally got to play, I felt held back by the system. I could either play a character which required the least amount of modifier dice rolls, or I could play a character which intrigues me. Eventually, I just played the simplest character I could create. And Shadowrun lost its appeal for me.

I like a lot of game settings which aren’t popular. Anyone who knows me has heard my “WHEN WILL SOMEONE PLAY MAZTICA WITH ME” rantings. Love it or hate it, it’s different. It’s not high fantasy in the Medieval European theme. As much as I’m a history nerd, playing in European Medieval setting isn’t as appealing as something I actually have a connection with, such as Deadlands.

I was born in the west; my great-grandmother came across country in a covered wagon. I’ve been a Wild West nerd for years. I was a huge fan of “Wild Wild West” growing up. When “Brisco County, Jr” was on the air, I never missed an episode. I love Dime Novels and reading the beautiful and horrifying history of settling the west. I’ve played both Classic and Savage Worlds versions of Deadlands. I don’t have a preference for either set of rules, but I definitely prefer the Classic set for the amazing lore & color.

So what does this have to do with D&D Next? Nothing really. Except that maybe I’ll get to playtest and get excited about D&D again. Maybe because there is a lot of community involvement and discussion, the community is finally going to get put aside the edition wars (A girl can dream!). I’m getting jazzed up over the thought of a regular gaming group. There are a lot of passionate people out there, ready to start something fantastic. We just need to all find each other and make it happen.

Time to dust off my dice bag!

My thoughts on “Speak Out With Your Geek Out!”

September 3, 2011 2 comments

I’ve seen the “Speak Out With Your Geek Out” program fly around on Twitter & Facebook, but I hadn’t given it much thought. I promote “Read an RPG Book in Public” and “Read a Comic Book in Public” days, but I rarely actually participate. Mostly because I already do these on a regular basis. It never occurs to me that I would be ashamed or embarrassed at how people perceive my nerdiness; this is the key to feeling acceptance within yourself. You can’t control how others feel about your hobby. What you can do, by being confident in yourself and your hobbies, is bring others out of their shell.

This type of thinking isn’t limited just to gaming or comic pursuits. I find it in the beer geek hobby, too. Especially as a woman who enjoys VERY dark beer. I tend to strike up conversations about beer when I’m drinking something which isn’t seen as “normal for a lady”. It happens with my socks, too. Yes, sock collecting is a hobby. If you don’t believe me, check out Sock Dreams. All my favorite socks come from Sock it to Me.

I believe people are attracted to people who appear to be having fun. Whether the stripey socks, my weird glasses, my RPG books or a dark glass of beer, I always look like I am having a good time with the things I love. When you are passionate about something, in this case geek pursuits, it encourages others to explore their passions, too.

When I sat down to read the article Calling all Geeks: Post about Your Hobbies September 12th to the 16th I became excited about the project.

I then read Speak Out with Your Geek Out by Dorkland and In Which We Prepare to Speak Out… by Jess Hartley.

What struck me about it all, was the positive & passionate love for geek pursuits. This kept standing out to me:

 

SPEAK OUT WITH YOUR GEEK OUT

Sometime during the week of Monday, September 12th to Friday, September 16th post about what geeky hobby you love. Then, tell us why we should try it, too. Leave your fears (and edition wars) at the door. Forget about your latest rant. Tap into that well of positive energy and share in the excitement of all things geek. Let us invite those who would stereotype us to sit at our table and share our interests.

 

The only thing I would change about this would be the last line about stereotyping. I’d much rather focus on encouraging people to engage. If we are only doing this to do a “IN YOUR FACE” to people who would stereotype people with geek passions, it isn’t very helpful. Yes, I understand the message in the quote above. However, there are many geeks who might attempt to use this as a way of promoting “I’m Geekier Than Thou”. Which is also one of my pet peeves.

I think we SHOULD address the ugly side of geek elitism. But that is for another post.

Games, Craft Beers and the Women Who Love Them

July 9, 2011 2 comments

I was watching a discussion happening on Twitter which I saw tweeted by @LadiesOCB. The topic? QUESTION: Do we need women targeted beer marketing campaigns? What is the right way to target women, if at all?

My first answer? Nope, we just need good beer to market to real beer drinkers, not pandering the same sexist ways.

A wee light bulb went off in my head and I realized I’m having the same argument about women & games. You don’t need to do anything special for women to play your games. JUST MAKE GOOD GAMES. If you make good games and respect your playerbase, women will play them. There’s nothing magical about attracting girls & women to your games.

The game goes for beer. IF you make GOOD beer, break out of your sexist adverts and don’t “dumb down” beer, women will drink it. Period. Respect your product, respect your audience, no matter who they are and you will be successful. Sure, you won’t make as much money as the top three “American” beers. Craft brewers and indie game developers have a lot in common. They have passion for their product and they want to bring as many people into their world.


I think that products like Chick Beer, are sexist and stereotyping. Women do not need pink packaging and yet another dig about how we should all watch our weight. It’s sexist and insulting to women and to men. If your beer is good, then ALL people will drink it. This beer isn’t a beer for women /made/ by women. It’s a marketing idea that someone created. I mean, “Chick has Beer Cred. We are brewed in Wisconsin by the second-oldest, tenth-largest brewery in the United States.” As a beer geek, I know exactly who’s brewing it and why.

I admit, I am saying this without trying the beer. And I could tear the website claims up over and over because none of it is factual. That really isn’t my point. My original point was to write about how I felt about this sort of marketing and how it is damaging to women. It reminds me of all the times I’ve been told “Girls don’t play hardcore games”, “Women don’t get strategy” “Are you shopping for (insert man of your choice)?”.

Beer Tasting at work, along with MEGAFORCE

Instead of ranting more about all this, I’ll get back to my point. I’d love to interview and write about women who are gamers and beer drinkers. The women who play what they want because they like it. The women who drink Ryes, IPAs, Stouts, Porters…beer across the entire spectrum. There are many women homebrewers, too. I’d love to hear from them.

If you’re interested, drop me an email at DJDanicia AT gmail DOT com. I’ll only use your name/photo if you want to share it with me.

Negra Modelo and Poo, the card game

Gen Con – My Panels, My Games & HELP!

June 11, 2011 Comments off

I know, we all do it. “Oh, I have a great blog post I need to write!”. Life gets busy; you get caught up in other things. Or in my case, your Closed Beta wraps up and you start Open Beta. There are so many details, big and small, which go into launching an MMORPG. I am very proud of what I have accomplished for the Community and am tickled pink at the great people who are sticking by us as we launch. I should write a whole post just on launching a post, but it will have to come Soon(TM).

Right now, I want to talk Gen Con Indy 2011. I should start about Seminars and all, but I’ll actually make a request for help first. For my Seminars below, if you would like to volunteer on one of these panels, I’d love to talk to you! You can drop a note to my email and we can talk. I’ve got a couple of folks interested and I need to touch base with them. WHERE DOES THE TIME GO?

I submitted four Seminars and surprisingly, all four were accepted! WEEEHAW! Here are the Seminars and status:

SEM1120076 – “MMORPG 101” – 39 tickets left
Thursday, Aug. 4th 3:00pm Marriott : Santa Fe
Massively multiplayer online role-playing games have revolutionized computer gaming, and become the dominant mode for computer role-playing games. Thought about playing one? Are the acronyms confusing? Can’t follow the gaming chatter from your friends? Come learn about MMORPGs. Get suggestions from our panelists on the type of MMO would fit your gaming style, schedule and budget.

SEM1120077 – “Gaming & Community” – 9 tickets left
Friday, Aug 5 2:00pm Marriott :: Phoenix

Game communities have grown beyond small game clubs, web forums and IRC as social networking has become integrated with game companies and created even more game communities. Our panelists will discuss social networking and creating a positive community via chat tools, web forums, Twitter, Facebook and 3rd party news/blogs.

SEM1120078 – “Video Game Addiction” – 39 tickets left
Saturday, Aug 6 2:00pm Marriott :: Indiana Bllrm B
Have you noticed friends and family members pull away from the things they used to do so they can make that raid in World of Warcraft? Are your children glued to their console games to the point of missing school and interacting with their peers? Do you wonder if you truly have an addiction or if you’re simply enjoying your favorite hobby to the fullest? Come discuss how to strike a balance between a love of gaming and being addicted to a game.

SEM1120081 – Steampunk Gaming – 0 tickets left. YES, NO TICKETS!
Sunday, August 7, 2:00pm at ICC: 243
Steampunk is hot. Literature, fashion and the DIY approach appeals to more and more people every day. Can the DIY approach carry over to your RPGs? Which video games have a Steampunk theme or are adding Steampunk elements? What card & board games have a Steampunk theme? Is there really THAT big of a fan base? What is the difference between Steampunk, Dieselpunk and Cyberpunk in games? Come learn about the future/past setting of Steampunk gaming.

I haven’t signed up for many things, but these are my three scheduled events to attend:

Desolation: Prey for Life – Ubiquity System, run by John Kahane
When the world nearly ended, you were trapped deep in dwarven ruins as the mountains fell. As you struggle to find your way to the surface through the dark, something from the deep is hunting you, just out of sight but never out of mind. Experience story-driven roleplaying in a post-apocalyptic fantasy world where high fantasy is brought low.

Hickman’s Killer Breakfast: 2011 – I can’t even begin to explain this, so Watch this video.
A rampaging gamemaster, 300 first-level characters facing certain death …. and show-stopping musical numbers! Tracy Hickman and the usual crew take on all comers in their classic, wacky, no-holds-barred role playing game for three hundred plus players. Play onstage or join in the audience participation. A hilarious Gen Con tradition! ALL NEW FOR 2011 — or consider our Hickman’s Killer Second Breakfast encore game on Friday morning.

Savage Saturday Night: Deadlands: Automaton Apocalypse – Savage Worlds system. *SQUEE*
Dr. Hellstromme and his legions of steam and steel are attacking Slaughter Gulch. The town’s only line of defense against these mechanical monstrosities is Hellstromme’s arch-rivals, the Collegium! This is a large 12-person event with plenty of “lead” to go around. Every player will be given a character, an infernal device, and a mission to stop Dr. Hellstromme’s automated army in this fast-paced miniatures based game.

The Hubster & I are arriving in Indy on Wednesday, late. We’ll most likely just hit our hotel and crash out. We leave out on Monday, so if anyone is still around Sunday night and Monday, we’d love to see you!

Categories: Main, Role-Playing Games

My NorWesCon Schedule!

April 2, 2011 Comments off

I’m flying back home to Seattle for NorWesCon later this month. I am a pro panelist again and was selected to be on a few panels. Here’s my awesome schedule! I am so excited to talk about these great topics!

Thursday 10pm: Not Just for White Boys Anymore: Beyond Stereotypes

The adventure tale tradition began with stories by white boys, for white boys, about white boys. Times have changed. Can adventure gaming change with them?
Donna Prior, Julie Haehn, Ogre Whiteside, SatyrPhil Brucato

Friday: 10pm: Dude, Seriously…WTF? When Gamers Cross the Line

There is no doubt that gamers are a fun and creative lot, but what happens when poor judgment, or just bad gamer behavior, twist that fun and creativity into something personally offensive? Our panelists discuss the things in a game you JUST. SHOULD. NOT. DO. And what you should do if someone has.
Ogre Whiteside, SatyrPhil Brucato, Donna Prior, Loree Parker

Saturday 1pm: Women in the Gaming Industry

Our all-female panel of gaming professionals discusses the growing presence/awareness of women playing and designing games, and the struggle with working in the industry. If you are a woman interested in working in this industry, our panelists want to encourage you!
Donna Prior, Julie Haehn, Liz Courts, Jennifer Brozek

Sunday Noon: Gaming & Community The panel I submitted! Yay me!

Game communities have grown beyond small game clubs, web forums, and IRC as social networking has integrated with game companies and created even more game communities. Our panelists will discuss social networking and creating a positive community via chat tools, web forums, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and 3rd party news sites.
Donna Prior, Matt Hammond, Liz Courts, Jeff Combos

Sunday 3pm: What Makes You A Fan? (I’m taking the “don’t be a fandom jerk” approach per the bolded part below.)

Books, movies, going to conventions … what is it that makes you a fan versus someone who just really enjoys a particular medium? Is there a difference? Can you be a fan without really liking science fiction and fantasy? Is a fan of one genre different from a fan in another? Is this really a controversy? Take part in a discussion that tries to present all sides.
Jacqualynn D. Duram Nilsson, Donna Prior

A Frustrated Woman Gamer Speaks…

March 19, 2011 6 comments

This is going to be long and rambly. Also, it will be focused mostly on tabletop gaming, as this is really what I love. Which is why it hurts the most, I think, whenever I run into the whole “girls don’t play” attitude, which I ran into numerous times at PAX East. To be fair, I didn’t venture much into the board/card games, RPGs or Minis area. I tried to visit the booths of numerous types of games, but after getting ignored in the majority of video game booths, the minis area and such, it just bummed me out. I had a GREAT time and was so happy that people were interested in our game. THAT is the reason I attended. I was also scoping out other booths for ideas (don’t lie, you do it, too), meeting podcasters & bloggers and talking about our contest. It was when I was out on break or out to lunch, that I became sad. I just didn’t feel like I belonged at PAX as a gamer. As an aside, check out Fat, Ugly or Slutty. This is what women deal with in games, game forums and such. All. The. Time. That being said, 99% of my interactions with fellow gamers are NOT like this. I am not bagging on men for this post, but simply sharing my experiences in gamer culture.

As I mentioned in my post last night, I was engaged by some very smart people on the topic of exclusive vs inclusive in regards to Gen Con vs PAX. It started when I caught a retweet by Chris Hanrahan which said, “PAX goes out of it’s way to be inclusive, whereas much like the rest of our industry, Gencon panders to the base.”.

My response back to that tweet, (copying others in the discussion), was as follows:

As a long time PAX attendee, I would normally agree re: inclusive. Until this year…

I quickly caught up with the conversation and see it was related to this post by Philip J Reed so I wasn’t missing anything. My friend, Chris Pramas, responded to Chris H.’s tweet conversation with, “I love PAX and all, but there is plenty of pandering to their base. It’s just a different base.”. Of course, I replied with, “I agree. I felt like I was at Gen Con the way I was ignored as “girls don’t play games”. So sick of it. ”

I think that people who work in games, specifically board & card games, are sometimes astounded that women (or anyone) would be excluded from gaming, as they’re surrounded by family, friends and fans of their games. These people are from all walks of life. They are inclusive and foster an inclusive environment. However, many other not-so-awesome game developers don’t feel the same way. Some are dismissive, some simply ignore us and some are downright hostile.

I received the following questions via these nice folks, so I wanted to talk about my experiences. Whilst my experiences might seem rare, they’re actually not. And haven’t been since the early 1980s when I tried to play D&D for the first time. More on that later The tweets:

  • “That’s so lame and upsetting 😦
  • “So sorry to hear about that. I hope you weren’t ignored at the @SJGames booth. That would make me very unhappy.” (SJG is always awesome)
  • “Any publisher ignoring women because “girls don’t play games” need to wake up. Girls play games!”
  • “Deeply curious about this. Times, places, companies responsible.”
  • “I mostly saw companies (in tabletop) hungry to demo, so, confused.”
  • “I’d also love more details on that, if anything to potentially educate those responsible on their errors.”
  • “Step 1: Introduce the “girls don’t play games” people to girls. Step 2: Girls play games!” (Thanks for the giggle)
  • Absolutely. My experience with unofficial cons at a con is completely different in re: gender treatment.
  • While I may not know you, you are always welcome at my gaming tables at #GenCon. 🙂 (Yay supporters!)

These comments are from people who make games and demo games for people who make games. I also want to spotlight the companies full of people who treat me as a person when I am at a convention. They have the BEST volunteers and whilst I may not have played a demo (ya know, the old ZOMG TOO MUCH TO SEE AND DO) thing, I will always go back and look at product. I have bought product based on how awesome staff/volunteers are to me and to other women (Women talk, yo).

Outstanding marks go to the following companies who’s booths & events I have attended in the past (Not at PAX EAst).

Green Ronin – You might say, “Wait. You know these people”. But I don’t know ALL of them and they don’t all know me. I don’t need Chris or Nicole to be there to be shown all the games. Even before I worked in games, THESE PEOPLE ALL ROCKED MY SOCKS. Every pre-knowing them experience was wonderful. Always respectful and outgoing. I love not being ignored. No chance of that happening with the Green Ronin crew.

Exile Games – My friend, Tombeaux, had introduced me to Exile long before I met anyone there. I walked up to their booth at Gen Con a while back and everyone was friend, helpful and knowledgeable. Staff & volunteers both. The excitement about what they’re doing is infectious and keeps me walking by just to watch them interact with other people. You can learn a lot from watching these folks on how to treat fans and potential fans.

Privateer Press – I had always wanted to play miniatures, but after /years/ of treatment from another company at conventions and their retail store, I was /tired/ of hearing “Are you shopping for your dad/brother/boyfriend? (when I was young) “Are you shopping for your husband or son?”. Privateer Press staff saw me looking at miniatures and said “LET ME SHOW YOU THIS GAME I LOVE SO MUCH AND YOU WILL LOVE IT TOO”. Every contact with a PP staff member or Press Gang member has been outstanding. They’re very patient and helpful, plus I picked up a lot of painting tips. The volunteer Press Gang folks LOVE this game and they LOVE to show others the game, too. ❤ Oh, if you're curious, I'm building a pink/purple/blue Magnus Merc army. I should have 35 points ready for Gen Con.

Steve Jackson Games – I have always felt welcome to the table. I’ve been playing SJGs for years after my first demo of Munchkin. Seriously, these folks and their Men in Black have brought me years of “teh lulz”. Even if they are trying to steal my cookies. They’ve been fantastic when I’ve invited them to conventions and are always full of energy.

Pinnacle Entertainment – I’ve been a HUGE fangirl of Shane and Deadlands for YEARS. Deadlands is my 2nd favourite game setting, hands down. Back in…oh, about 2002..my gaming group decided to run a Deadlands LARP (when no live rules existed) for a small convention in Northern Virginia. They were awesome, answered questions, sent us GREAT swag for prizes. Just generally nice folks. When you’ve fallen in love with a setting and they respond with equal passion, you know it is a match made in gamer heaven. Everyone involved with Pinnacle has been top notch. And I’m not just saying that because I’m a fan girl. They talked to me as a GAMER years before I ever met anyone on the team.

Moosetache Games – I’m sure many people have never heard of them. I was immediately enamored by them last year at Gen Con. I was getting grumpy because no one wanted to talk to me, show me a game, sell me anything. They reached out and said, “Hello, we would love to show you our game, Rowboat. Do you have a few minutes to play?”. Of course, I did. I stuck around and came back a few times, dragging other gamers around to show them the game. I had great conversations with these folks about gaming and how difficult it is for a small outfit to compete with all the big booths.

There are plenty others who have been fantastic. Evil Hat Productions, Cubicle 7, Catalyst Game Labs (CANNOT WAIT FOR LEVIATHANS), Fat Dragon Games. Man, I know I’m leaving people out.

“But wait!”, you say. “You’re not actually talking about what led up to this post.”. You’d be correct. I am a big advocate of positive begets positive and I wanted to highlight that I’ve had HEAPS of positive experiences. But now, I will talk about the negative. If you’re still reading this, I give you props for tolerating my Nyquil-fed blatherings.

So, back in Ye Olden Dayes, when I was in high school, I heard about this game called “Dungeons & Dragons”. I totally wanted to play it. By then whilst everyone was reading boring books, I was reading “Xanth” and “Adept” series by Piers Anthony, the “Saga of the Well World” series by Jack Chalker. Of course, I was facinated by the “Dragon Riders of Pern” series. I was totally in love of the idea of role-playing in fantasy worlds. However, in my bible baptist town, not only was this ZOMG SATANIC, but worse…”Girls don’t play these kinds of games”. I was stunned. The dudes I hung around with in high school never minded me being around before. They treated me the same as they treated each other. No awkwardness or ‘omg girl” type things (Or I was too clueless to see it). So when they wouldn’t let me play, it just reminded me of EVERYTHING ELSE I HAD BEEN TOLD I COULD NOT DO as a girl. In band, I wasn’t allowed to play the drums. It wasn’t seemly for a girl. Flute, Clarinet were my options. I picked up the sax, because it counts as a woodwind instrument. I love the sax but HATED playing it.

I was not allowed to join shop class. I wanted to take wood shop so badly. Instead, my options were Home Ec and Cosmetology. I was used to it by adults, but to be betrayed by my FRIENDS? It was crushing.

By the time 1989 rolled around, I had been through a lot of crap that no one wants to go through. As a survivor, I carried on, determined to try to live my own life by my own rules. This worked out wonderfully in many ways and totally failed in others. I was working on the River Walk at Tony Romas in San Antonio. I was sitting around drinking beer with other “River Rats” (people who worked the restaurants/bars on the River Walk). My friend, Ted, had a D&D 1st Edition Player’s Handbook, DMG (Dungeon Masters Guide) and Unearthed Arcana. *grin* He asked if I wanted to join his group. I found myself parroting everyone I had encountered who told me no. I said, “Girls don’t play these kinds of games”. He blinked and said, “You’re wrong and I’ll prove it”. Turns out, he ran a game which included TWO other women! I fell in love with the Forgotten Realms at that point, hungrily reading up all the wonderful stories written by Ed Greenwood, Jeff Grubb, Douglas Niles, Troy Denning, Bob Salvatore and more. I’m still trying to run a Maztica game. *sigh*

I subscribed to “Dungeon” and “Dragon” magazine. I read about all kinds of game worlds and companies which existed. I bought a lot of their product. The only negative I could say about my first gaming group is that no one wanted to play outside the Forgotten Realms. Even for Maztica, for which I have mad love. For years, I continued to carry around all my books, finding games where I could and meeting other gamers. I attended a few smaller conventions here and there, getting my first taste of Steve Jackson games by way of a game of Killer. Mostly though, I stuck to my D&D Forgotten Realms. My group had upgraded to 2nd Ed when so much amazing source material came out for FR.

I pretty much got used to the misogynist spewings of many nerds & gamers. Of trying to sit at a table whilst a GM tried to force my characters into a rape scenario. Everyone said girl = priest. If you wanted a mage, it couldn’t be an ass kicking mage (okay, so what mages /were/ kicking ass back then?). I had to be a support class. If I was “allowed” to be any sort of fighter, the DM would try to make her sexy, describing all kinds of sexual situations, sexy armor… You get the picture.

I was in a relationship with a bloke when I moved to the DC Metro area. I joined his game group, but it was a frustrating effort. Whilst nice guys, they were very hack & slash. They didn’t like puzzles, they didn’t like story and no one wanted to run a game. Everyone wanted to play. This is how I discovered Deadlands, and thankfully, the bloke running it was GOOD at it. He had a passion for this setting, so I bought everything Deadlands that I could find. This is the game group who ran the Deadlands LARP and we also ran Delta Green Live. After a while, I became frustrated and stopped playing.

I retreated into playing MMOs. No one could force me into being what I didn’t want to be. I could /ignore anyone who was a jerk. I could find other roleplayers and build communities. So, my first MMO was the beta for The Sims Online. Laugh it up, furball. The beta community was FANTASTIC. Turns out, that I randomly stumbled on to friends I’ve known through renfaires! REAL PEOPLE PLAY ONLINE GAMES! I would have great conversations with people who told me about Star Wars Galaxies beta (shut up, haters). I signed up and got in at the tail end of beta. I played (and still log in from time to time) because of the world, the people and the community. I eventually found the Pirates of the Burning Sea MMO community. Much like SWG, I was the very first player spotlight. I was enamored with online play and was ready to ditch all my books. I simply could not find any good groups.

My life changed in an amazing way. I had a flight and ticket to Gen Con Anaheim. I offered my assistance to the Flying Lab crew in 2006 and volunteered in their booth the entire weekend. I was so excited to actually talk to people who made the games I wanted to play. Instead, I wandered around and no one would talk to me. I was flat out ignored. Looked in the eye and before I could ask a question, they moved on to ask dudes, “Hey, wanna try out this game?”.

The difficult part of this is things like this still happen. Not just at conventions, but at gaming stores. Message boards. You name it. When I moved back to Austin, I showed up for a public board game meetup (on Meetup.com). The guys in the store? FANTASTIC. The people playing? I had a smile, some games in hand and looked to join a game. Instead, I received blank looks or simply ignoring when I tried to ask a question. Now, I know that when people are concentrating in a game, it’s not a good thing to be distracted. However, when you’re talking amongst yourselves and you just /look/ at someone and ignore them? That is something else entirely.

And worse? Two of them were women. Whilst all of what I’ve said is hurtful and sad, there is nothing like how the women who DO get into groups treat other women. All women know that look. They give you the up and down once over and the “Don’t even THINK of trying to drop into OUR domain”. *sigh* We’re supposed to be empowering each other and helping foster the inclusive environment, not projecting insecurities.

So what did I do? I joined Geek Girls of Austin and started my own board game night. I run a very casual games evening at my favourite pub and invite everyone to join. Sure it started with women, but we have men who join us. Men who are not being all creepy and overly touchy. But men who want to play games. The women who show up have always wanted to play games; many play Facebook or console games. They’ve been through what I’ve experienced and no one has ever wanted to teach them to play. They’ve heard, “You are a girl. You would never catch up”. “Our game night is boys only, so we can get away from our wives nagging” “This game is complicated. Have you tried Apples to Apples instead?” (which is a GREAT game). NO one has wanted to teach them to play D&D or show them any other RPGs. Many women I know /own/ games, but have no one to play with. Game stores have pretty much shunned them, or the women have had That Guy show up to “help” them. you know. The one who doesn’t understand personal space. The one who is overly huggy and touchy. STOP THAT GUYS. Hell, STOP THAT GIRLS. Women are just as bad at that overly touchy feely ignoring personal space thing. Just. Stop. It. Now.

So here I am. Standing up for myself. Making fun games happen. Inviting other people to play, regardless of experience. Building a community of inclusive gamers and not tolerating anyone’s misogynist, hateful language or behavior. Games are supposed to be FUN. And dammit, I’m doing to do my best to make sure they are.

And as an aside, we play at 7pm Monday nights at the Draught House. Drop me a line if you want to show so I can save you a seat. It’s $2.75 stout/porters night!

Gen Con & Dragon Age RPG

January 30, 2011 1 comment

I am both win and fail on this one. At the very same time. I like to support projects of the people I know (I mean, I bought M:tG novels, for Pete’s sake!) but I mostly stick to things I really want to read or play. I’ve been a huge fan of Dragon Age: Origins by BioWare. I’ve purchased all the DLC and the expansion, even if I haven’t finished it all. Even buying a t-shirt at Hot Topic so I’d COLLECT THEM ALL. How very Pokemon of me, yes? Shoot me; I’m a completist. With poor spelling, I might add. And yes, I’ve pre-ordered Dragon Age II.

With all that said, I was happy to hear that my pals at Green Ronin were putting out a table-top RPG version. As it says on the Dragon Age RPG FAQ, “Dragon Age features an all-new game system that’s both easy to learn and exciting to play—the perfect portal to tabletop roleplaying.”. This is incredibly important to me, as I believe there are scads of people who would play table-top games if they only knew how. Or new people who played. Or..or…or.. You get the picture. Chris has designed a system that anyone can pick up and play. Truly! It is accessible, yet interesting. It’s SUPER AWESOME COOL, and offers a chance for players to go beyond their experiences in the video game.

I’ve wanted to get back into being a GM (Game Master) for quite a while. I last ran 2nd Ed D&D Forgotten Realms back in, I think, 2003? I’ve only done sporadic RPG playing, focused more on board & card games. I haven’t utilized my time well at Gen Con and other conventions. Okay, mostly because I keep volunteering at them. Still, I desire to get back into things; to sit back and /play/ instead of organizing so many things.

So, where was I fail, like I said in the beginning of my post? Well, I bought the Dragon Age RPG on pre-order. I’ve had the box set all this time and haven’t played. At Gen Con last year, I picked up the Game Master’s Kit (and boy, is it PURTY) and Dragon Age: Blood in Ferelden

I set myself a goal. I’ve blathered on about running Dragon Age. I’ve kept meaning to do it. I finally said, “DAMMIT DANI. JUST RUN THE DAMN THING”. And I am. I’m submitting it for events at Gen Con. That is what prompted me to finally get the blog started; I want a place for people to read about how I’m going to run the game and get a better feel of what kind of GM I will be. A good one, I hope. The great thing about knowing the Green Ronin folks is that if anyone is a jerk at my table and wants to whine to them? They’ll say “YOU WERE PROBABLY A JERK.”. That might be my favorite part, actually. HAH!

Seriously. It will be fun. Even if I suck at being a GM, I’m still gonna make it fun for everyone. Of course, I may have to bribe people into the fun part. I guess it’s time to send an order to Geeky Cookies Oh, Leo…

Categories: Main, Role-Playing Games
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