Archive for June 15, 2017

More Thoughts on Paid GMing

Posted: June 15, 2017 by pointyman2000 in Local Scene, Roleplaying Games
Tags:

CoC

Okay, so over the past few weeks, I’ve had a chance to run two paid sessions already. One was for Call of Cthulhu, where I ran, “The Haunting” Scenario, and the other was for a custom Legend of the Five Rings session.

Fees

So far, players of both groups have been happy with their experiences, and I’ve not encountered a situation where they were not keen on paying the fee I was charging. For full disclosure, my fee was a Php 300 ($6 USD) charge per person, with a discount down to Php 250 ($5 USD) if the group size hits at least 4 players. This is for a 4 hour session.

Financially, it’s definitely a boon on my end, as I’m able to use what I’ve earned to offset the usual household expenses. Furthermore, a portion of what I earn here goes into savings that go directly into the purchase of games in support of the Industry.

Reputation

Part of my success in the pay-to-play format can probably be attributed to the fact that I’ve already a healthy reputation in the hobby community. This blog has been around for a long time, and the Let’s Study series of reviews have been useful resources for fans of all sorts of different games.

Many new hobbyists that discovered RPGs in the country have run into my blog simply due to the name, which admittedly lends itself well to search engine results for “Roleplaying Games Philippines”

Value in Scarcity

The Philippines has a small hobby community, one that’s just begun to grow thanks to the efforts of such groups as the Philippine Adventurer’s League. But with this growth comes a new wave of gamers that are looking to do more than just D&D. They do their research, hear about other games, but can’t find anyone to run it for them.

That’s where I come in. Having reviewed so many RPGs, I’ve got a working understanding of a whole boatload of them!

Advocacy & Quality

Part of the reason why I wanted to do a paid gig was that I wanted to introduce new games into public awareness though with the added insurance of knowing that you’ve paid to have a good time.

From my perspective, if someone offers to run a game for you for free, it’s a zero-risk operation from the point of view of the person running it. There’s no transaction beyond the investment of an afternoon or evening spent at a location. As such if the game is terrible, then there’s no significant loss of face for the person who offered to run it.

However, the moment a person charges for a game, then it becomes a material transaction and that places a real burden on the person running to deliver a quality experience. Whether or not it is “worth” the price of admission is a separate discussion, but the point is that once you’re paid to do something, you’d better do your best.

Art & Patronage

I’ve no illusions that running a game for money is a form of performance art. Much in the way you’d pay a musician to perform at an event, paying a GM means that they (upon acceptance of payment) are obligated to perform a service to your satisfaction. If the performer does a good enough job, then they may earn the patronage of a loyal customer.

Patronage is important, because it has to be earned. And one of the few ways you can really measure your worth and skill in a performance is by the size of your take.

The Future

Right now, I’m booked all the way to August. With games of Call of Cthulhu, Symbaroum, Dark Heresy, Mage: the Awakening and possibly more on the way. Things are looking good from where I’m standing, and if I play my cards right and do well in my games, I can make this work for a good, long time.

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If there’s one thing that Tales From The Loop had to get just right, it would have to be the “Sense of Place” of the era that was the 80’s. While the art from Simon Stålenhag was definitely a very powerful device to communicate it, I have to give kudos to the team that worked on the setting chapter to make both of the game’s two main settings the kind of life that reflected the feel and sensibilities of the era.

A little of the real, and a little of the fantastic

Part of what makes the game work so well as a setting is that it plays with the nostalgia of the 80’s and clashes it hard with technologies that simply don’t belong there. And yet, to those that inhabit the setting, it’s perfectly normal.

It’s this take on the past, but different that makes Tales From the Loop such an interesting read. The book goes into broad strokes for both Sweden and the US, talking about cultural touchstones like the music of the era, as well as technologies that were prevalent (I admit, I smiled at the mention of the Commodore 64 home computer!)

The chapter goes into great detail as to how life was like for kids in Sweden and the US in the 80’s with a focus on just what kind of activities they’d get away with, and each section also goes into the geography and prime locations of interest there are in the city where the Loop was.

Overall, the setting chapter is a great look at two possible cities for stories of Tales From the Loop, but they also serve for a great inspiration for adding a Loop (and all the weirdness that goes with it) to your city of choice! It gets even easier if you grew up in the 80’s!

If you’d like to follow along or get your own copy of Tales From the Loop, you can grab the PDF over at DriveThruRPG for only $24.99

If you’d like to support me in making more Let’s Study Review series, then please consider contributing to my Patreon