Well, I did think I was going to have more time for blogging. Unfortunately, the last of the "running beagles" is on her last legs (that is to say: apparently dying) and her care has been occupying much of my attention this week. It is what it is. I still need to finish (well, start really) my NAP3 contest submission, so that I can get it in by the 30th. Fortunately, I have a plan for that. The plan for the dog is...slower in the coming. Though it appears the writing is on the wall.
*sigh* ANYway...on to something a little more upbeat...
One thing I neglected to mention in my post about the Cauldron convention is that I, too, won a prize: I was awarded the trophy for "Best Dungeon Master" of the tournament. I am told (by the con organizer) that this was the "most prestigious trophy" of the con (it was certainly the largest trophy). It was also stated that I won handily by "all metrics considered" including number of game sessions run and quality of game sessions run (as graded by players). I was also the undisputed leader in the "most deadly DM" category (again, as voted by the players) with some players writing-in their own categories for my games including "Very Deadly...But Fair" and "Fantasy Fucking Vietnam." I am told that the results (at least in that category) weren't particularly close. Though I also handed out a lot of treasure.
|Something to keep my dice in...|
I haven't blogged about this before because...well, because it's needed to sink in a bit. I did not go to the convention to win trophies, after all. I went to Cauldron to play AD&D (specifically to play with a large number of adult aficionados) and I went there to meet people who...previously...I have only known or interacted with via the (rather impersonal) internet. I know I said as much in my last post. And I meant it.
But in mulling it over, there was definitely another reason I wanted to play this particular game with these particular people. A selfish reason...an ego-driven reason. And yet a simple reason:
I wanted to show my chops.
Look: there are a lot of faceless blowhards on the internet. Not much has distinguished me from such folks over the years (if I am at all "distinct") except, perhaps, longevity and the fact that I've published a book or two. And, truthfully, that's cool...I'm not really blogging for recognition so much as for carving myself a little forum on which to vent my meandering thoughts. It is what it is: humans crave outlets for creative expression, and I am no different. I just choose this particular hobby as my channel. Once upon a time, I might have chosen something different. But this is plenty gratifying.
And yet, when one "holds forth" and blusters with such...mm..."strong opinions" as I am wont to express here, I am sure there are some who might wonder: Is this guy full of shit? Or what? And there are times myself when I am confronted with self-doubt. After all, here I am writing about the joys and wonder of playing 1st edition AD&D...and, yet, the only people I've run the game for (since starting up again) have been children. My own and those of others. Not "real people;" not adult peers, some of whom have plenty of experience and design cred under their belts. Not the kinds of people that judge like I have a tendency to judge.
And, so, running games...AD&D (1E) games...was something I desperately wanted to do. Not just for the joy of it, but to prove to myself...and perhaps others...that I could do it. Because I still wondered. Despite all the theory-hashing. There are plenty of folks who teach because they can't do (that old chestnut). But being able to teach or speak or write with any degree of authority requires one to put into practice the preaching. To put up or shut up.
That can be a tough leap to make in this hobby.
No, no...it's not because it's rocket science or particularly difficult (it truly isn't). Rather it's just because so many game masters are (like so many other people) cursed with (at least slightly) fragile egos. Far easier for the fifteen year blogger like myself to NOT take the plunge: to instead stay home and say, oh yeah, wish I could go to that but, you know, totally busy. And, thus, not even taking the field. Save the reputation from the potential hit one might take. People seeing your failings, judging you, maybe (heavens!) posting on the internet how much you suck.
It's human nature to doubt oneself at times.
So, no: I was not at the convention with the objective of competing for awards, but I was there with the aim of proving myself...both to myself and to others. ANY acknowledgement of me running a competent game would have been welcome, trophy or not.
Especially considering the quality of DM running games at Cauldron. Guys who are well-known in OSR circles...designers/writers like Gabor Lux and James Raggi and Prince of Nothing. The Germans themselves brought more than half-a-dozen 1E DMs, most of whom (I believe) are associated with Nexus, the German adventure gaming club that has really pushed hard in recent years to dig deep into AD&D and its glory. No slouches on display, in other words...just competent, confident DMs.
So a good testing ground...and a chance to step up and show that I'm not just an idiot with a blog.
It's all very silly, of course. Crowing about...or worrying/stressing about...how well one runs a game in a niche section of a niche section of a niche hobby. But while DMing isn't rocket science, it does take work and effort. As with any pastime, one can treat it seriously and respectfully...or not. That is: the person doing the act (i.e. the person running the game, specifically ME in this case) can treat the "DMing art" with respect, or not.
Whether the rest of the world does or does not respect the work is not (and should not be) of much concern. It's my life after all...my time I'm spending on the effort.
Still, it's nice to have external acknowledgement. Always nice; always gratifying. Like the people who put electronic dollars in my DriveThru account every time one of my books is purchased, it is encouragement: encouragement to keep at it, to keep working, keep striving at getting better. A pat on the back and an "attaboy" probably would have been sufficient.
But it is a nice trophy. And (sad but true) I don't think I've ever earned ANY kind of award for ANY endeavor that I cared more about than this hobby of ours. I feel stupidly, absurdly proud...just for killing a few imaginary characters and handing out imaginary treasure.
Though it probably helps that my players (my kids) thought it was pretty cool.