Friday, February 7, 2014

Silent Sundays

Three days ago, I had posted my Rotted Capes meetup for three different groups. I thought, with a good enough pitch, and spread across three large audiences, I would definitely get a group together for the game.

Flash forward to today. I only have one RSVP. Not wanting to go into the weekend unsure if there would be a game on Sunday or not, I cancelled the event.

There are a lot of little issues that could be brought up here...for example, I had three different gamers say they would do it, but can't due to prior obligations. Had I posted on a different weekend, then, I would have potentially had my four. Also, the main group that I thought would be into it...the horror RPG group...have another, long-standing game that runs on Sundays, so everyone who's a part of that was out of the running. Then there are the normal mitigating home is not public transporation-friendly, so that's a barrier for carless gamers (of which there are many in D.C., one of the most public-transportation friendly cities in the country); I'm running something that doesn't have "Dungeons" or "Dragons" in the title, so hyping the game is, as always, an uphill battle (as I've written of in previous entries); and I posted the event on Tuesday, with less than a week's notice, so busier gamers had less of a chance of having the weekend open.

But, honestly, I'm grumpy right now and feeling sorry for myself. After a year of hosting these things, I still can't get over the self-conscious fear that the problem is me. Rationally, I know that's bullshit; I'm pretty good at what I do, and even if I wasn't, the fact that I'm willing to do it at all usually means I can at least get a group together. But there's always that ugly little gremlin of doubt, sitting on my shoulder and saying "Nobody likes you!" That, combined with other, non-gaming-related shitty things going on just add up to a bummer of a Friday. And Fridays, by nature, are very hard to screw up.

There is a little light at the end of the tunnel, though. Tonight, I'm meeting up some friends on the boardgaming side of the geek spectrum and playing one of my current favorite games: Mansions of Madness. Fittingly, MoM has been described as an "RPG in a box", and I do concur with that assessment. In Mansions of Madness, players assume the roles of investigators exploring a mansion. At the heart of the mansion is a mystery that needs to be unravelled. One player is the Keeper, who summons monsters and messes with the investigators as they work together to solve the mystery and survive. It's a blast. So even if I don't get in an RPG on Sunday, at least I have this quasi-RPG to look forward to tonight!

Staying positive, I'm about to enter a new arena for role-playing games: play by forum, or PbF, gaming. I'm not entirely clear how it works, but it seems like the idea is that the adventure is run on a message board. There's an in-character (IC) thread for the game itself, and an out-of-character (OOC) thread for meta stuff like making characters, explaining rules, sidebar conversations and the like. The forum I'm using, over at, has it's own built in dice buttons so players can roll dice right in their response threads. It definitely sounds like it's slower and maybe a little more work for me as a GM, but being able to run the game at odd moments like during breaks at work or before bed in the evening does have a certain appeal to it. Plus, the written medium plays more directly into my skillset, so (in theory, at least), I should be a better GM in this format.

So it's not all doom and gloom. I might as well just take advantage of this free Sunday, catch up on some sleep, and begin prep for the next Call of Cthulhu game the following Sunday.


  1. :-(

    I'm sorry, man. I can relate about so many of the things you said here. You already know your regulars like you. I know the fear and self doubt is hard to ignore, but you have to know that truth. The reason random people on Meetup aren't showing up isn't because they don't like you, they don't show up because of trepidation about the unknown.

    The first game of yours I went to, I almost didn't. It wasn't because of you. It was because I didn't know if I'd like the game, or the other players, our your play style. It was because I didn't know if I'd get along with random strangers. It was because I'm shy, and awkward, and very self conscious. If not for a greater desire to meet new people and try new things, you would have had two less people at your gaming table.

    Look, what I'm saying is an obscure game in a niche hobby can be a tough sell, even in the best of conditions. You really can't blame yourself. You know the interest was there, from randoms on Meetup and from your regulars... The schedule just didn't work out. And trust me, the fear of disappointing others, namely the GM or a new friend or both, is an ever present fear on the other side of the table. I don't know, maybe I'm projecting.

    Anyway, I've spent too many words saying something you probably already knew, and at this point I feel like a cheerleader, but I felt they needed to be said. As someone with major self esteem issues. As someone who has been in this hobby for a while and received little support from players in the past. As someone who has filled the same shoes, and suffered the same disappointments. I know a lot of GM's don't always get their due, and it needs to be said. You are good at what you do, and what you do is run a damn fine game.

  2. Thanks, Boomer. I spent a quiet Sunday morning/afternoon catching up on my videogaming, so it's all good. I will see you this Sunday!


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