2017: “Welcome the New Player”
It is the nature of communities, as they age, that an old guard manufactures itself out of enfranchised veterans. The nature of that caste is mutable - and we made a choice in 2017 that our old guard would facilitate, not flagellate. We asked you all to make space for new players, to respect and invest in them. We asked you to buy into their dreams and their vision and to acknowledge that the amount of time we spend in this crazy fake world is not proportional to the ownership we have over the setting.
And you guys aced it. Our culture changed, our new players flourished - given space and a community that had decided to believe in them. I think some of our most dedicated marshals and prop-producers are a direct result of that culture shift. And I am so fucking proud that we did that together.
2018: “Practice self care”
Remember when we used to romanticize illness? When we would leave our wounds untended and risk infection for the sake of some arbitrary notion of “Bravo Hard”? When getting two hours of sleep a night at game was somehow a way to generate social currency?
That was really silly of us!
In 2018 we made a choice to stop engaging in destructive behavior like that. We said “guys it's about time you start taking care of yourselves” and you took us seriously. We provided you a room with bandaids and a resolution - but you’re the ones that realized what steps you needed to take to look after yourselves. You held one another accountable for the health of the individual. You provided painkillers and medical kits and emergency food. You collectively embraced the notion that is it the job of a community to look after one another - and that the most effective way to look out for our friends is to look after ourselves first.
That is a sweeping social change. It was deliberate, it was awesome.
Well - welcome to 2019 guys. We have big changes on the horizon. Some are already happening. But the change I want to talk about now has nothing to do with our new rulebook and everything to do with the members of the community that make that book worth reading.
2019: Be responsible for your own fun
It is, in our experience and belief, the job of every individual to lead a life conducive to their own happiness. In 2019 we can promise a few things. That we will try very hard. That we will strive to provide for you a greater quality of story and immersion. And that we will do everything we can to give you the tools you need in order to craft narratives that you will carry with you when you leave this transitory world that dies when you stop inhabiting it.
But what we cannot promise is that you will enjoy it. We cannot do that thing because you are a person, a complex and coherent system of beliefs and dispositions that color your world in a way that we will never see or hope to understand holistically. And that’s really very okay.
What we can do is say - invest yourselves, guys. It was never the Jones mods that captured your minds, it was never the great big sky above our campsite or the sight of the lake as the sun comes up. It was never the setting alone that made you excited to come back. It was the people you experienced those things with, it was the narrative you assigned to those events, it was the resolution you manufactured and reached that make up the basic components of the fun and fear I hope you have experienced in equal measure over the years.
And those things don’t just happen. We make them ourselves.
So be proactive, guys. Be gutsy. Be gregarious. Be generous. Make the world you want to see. There’s a ten foot circle around you - make that a space people want to be in. Prop hard, costume hard, roleplay hard. Find the fun and foster the fear.
Let’s buy in. Let’s decide to take ownership of our fun and see what happens. I can’t wait to tell these stories with you.