GM Tips, hosted by the talented veteran Game Master Satine Phoenix, is our show to help Dungeon Masters and Game Masters improve their craft and create memorable roleplaying experiences. Last week, we talked about Psychology at the table, and this week is where we begin the last two videos of GM Tips and talk community!
GM Tips has come a long way and built an incredible community around the fine art of storytelling. As we wind down the video series with the final two articles, we’ve got an extended video on the importance of gaming community.
This week on GM Tips with Satine Phoenix, join Satine, Matt Mercer, Ruty Rutenberg, and Amy Vorphal as they lend their final words of wisdom as a group!
There is a reason that video is a forty-five-minute epic: it contains four master storytellers discussing their craft and community. If you haven’t given that video it’s due, grab your drink of choice and settle in. Below are some distilled tips on community and leveling up your GM skills.
Put In The Work
It might be easy to look at shows like Critical Role or Dread and lament at your local gaming community. Gamers are quick to cast a critical eye, and going to your local gaming store doesn’t always mean it’s a friendly or welcoming experience for everyone. GM Tips with Satine Phoenix has had storytellers from all backgrounds and walks of life but they all share one thing in common—time and commitment.
Try changing your environment for the positive and in a way that best suits you by being a better player, or putting in the effort to run better games. Maybe even volunteer your time and run for people who aren’t in your group. Doing some cross-group storytelling is a great way to build a larger community. Creating a fulfilling local gaming community is going to take real-life time and effort on your behalf. When you are done; you’ll have memories and friends forever.
Look For A Major Organization
Another way to find a community to be a part of is to find some gaming organizations that are out there. If you are fresh meat to them, I’d recommend volunteering as soon as possible because it will get you involved right away. If you are into DnD, you’ve got Adventurer’s League. Pathfinder has the Pathfinder Society. Our vampiric brethren can look into OWBN or Underground Theater as two examples.
There are also smaller organized playgroups or even local theatre troupes that have more free-form play. Chicago has the Otherworld Theatre troup, a dedicated fantasy and sci-fi club that also started a fantastic community around Chronicles of the Realm. If in-person meetups aren’t your speed, game from home with an ever-growing body of online tabletop communities. Once you find the style you are looking for, scroll back through all these articles and GM for them. It will take you a while to find the players that you jibe with, but they are there.
So what if you have no local community, you hate online roleplaying, and you don’t have the time for the organizations? You engage in a not-so-ancient gaming secret among the perpetually out-of-time gamers across the world—take a game vacation. If you haven’t considered this with your friends yet, here’s how it works. Get a hotel room, a crap ton of snacks and beverages, and plan around playing for an all-nighter. Upgrade it to a cabin a few hours away from home and a weekend if you can. This is a way to take your local group from players to a part of your community.
If you aren’t willing to host, you can also look into LARP style events, like Dragon Thrones or the Convention of Thorns. The blockbuster LARP’s only take place once a year but tend to foster very passionate communities. Dystopia Rising and Imagine Nation have events all over the country and range from Road Trips to Rock Salt Conspiracies.
How active is the local gaming community? Do you need a hand finding groups or games? Let us know in the comments below! Maybe someone lives right by you!
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Rick Heinz is the author of The Seventh Age: Dawn, and a storyteller with a focus on LARPs, Wraith: The Oblivion, Eclipse Phase, and many more. You can follow game or urban fantasy related thingies on Twitter or Facebook.