North Texas RPG Con is just a couple weeks away and since Erik is attending, and likes to do the video/podcast thing with Bad Mike, you might have reached your fill about the event already.
Don't worry, this isn't a post so much about the convention so my
12 13 readers can read on if not interested in this convention, but I will add my 2cp and simply say that if you are in a position to attend this convention and you aren't....your loss. Small con, big guests....I bet that NTRPG is like what the first handful of GenCons were like....well as close at it could be in this day and age.
Anyway, my point that I'm laboring to get to, evidently, is that I know I'm going to a convention in a couple of weeks, as a player, and I still have a lot of prep to do. Realistically I know all I need to do is pack my tablet, computer, RPG HDD, and my dice box and I'll be good to go.....10' packing tops. Maybe toss in some game books if I'm feeling froggy........even though I have PDFs of everything I need, I keep buying or printing out rulebooks 'because evidently I prefer the physicality of them at the table. Maybe I just like having multiple books "open" and that's harder to do on a tablet?
No, my big prep for the convention is trying to figure out, and then make, some GM "Thank You" gifts. Most of my convention experience is still as a GM and tournament organizer, not as a player. I can most definitely tell you that being a GM at a convention is largely a thankless task. Sure most players will express a simple "thanks" at the table, and a couple might shake your hand.
Now, there is nothing wrong with this, BUT.....there is a lot more to GMing that simply leading a table game for three or four hours. The average GM, well the average GM that cares about having a good game, easily puts in at least three or four hours for every hour at the table, even if they are running a pre-printed adventure. Conventions and game companies are quite a bit hit or miss in showing GMs any love as well.
Yes, many conventions do give free badges to GMs, but they usually make you work for it. That $50 badge, well maybe $85 or so now (depending on the convention) usually want a good 12-16 hours of GMing to qualify. Sixteen hours of table-time for an $50 badge, or twelve hours for an $85 badge makes that work worth $3.12 to $7.08 an hour, $0.78 to $2.36 an hour if you factor in non-table time.
78¢ and hour and a couple handshakes, sign my ass up! Seriously though it isn't about money, but really the resources of time and energy. Twelve to Sixteen hours of time at a convention is a HUGE resource suck.
Don't even get me started about volunteering at a higher level than just a table GM as that involved me paying for the privilege of working.....again not to mention the time and energy suck.
No, in my experience (and I'm not just talking about my personal experience) GMs don't get enough love period. I really doubt that anything I can post will change that, but I will add a tiny bit of self-promotion in that I did make a couple of free "Thank You" cards that are available on DriveThuRPG.
What I can do, have done (although I totally dropped the ball last year), and will do, is make some small GM thank you gifts, along with the thank you card. A couple years ago I did some small boxes (that could double as a dice tray) and some coasters. Both were just purchased from the hobby store and tweaked. I like the idea of something small and useful.
This year I'm thinking of some handmade wooden/leather dice trays and/or die rolling tower. Now I'm not much of a wood worker, but I'm learning, so the die rolling tower will probably be a bit much for me to pull off. Actually I could easily make some dice towers, but I mean dice towers in the style I want to make them, not what I can manage.
I've got a couple of weeks to get these GM Thank You's squared away, but I'll have to get started this week for certain, unless someone here at the Tavern has a better idea....and no, drinks at/after the game don't count because I'm already down for that (I tend to bring drinks to the game already).