Role Playing Gone Wrong

What is $5 to you?

Is it just a membership fee? Or is it the inevitable onslaught of a fascist regime?

Or is just a dirty blow job at the back of some dank alley way in the inner city?

Today, $5 is enough to create a rift in the world of role playing games.

It all started in the peaceful and notoriously friendly city of Edmonton when the reigns of power for an online forum were transferred to man with a new “vision.”

A local Edmonton online role playing Meet-up group’s days were numbered after the previous moderator announced to all 400 plus members he could no longer carry the yearly cost for maintaining the group.

It was during this forum’s darkest hour when one man came to the light and saved the day.

Shortly after gloriously crowning himself leader of the group – he dropped the fantastical equivalent of a bomb on his peers.

The previously free to join group would now have a membership fee.

A $5 membership fee.

Rage tore through the internet – making gamers nerd rage all over the city. Keyboards were smashed and health potions shattered.

How dare he charge a role playing gamer for a free service.

One by one, forum posts turned ugly with people saying things like this:

Screen Shot 2013-06-12 at 1.16.42 PM

Internal strife rapidly turned to chaos when players cast the spell “basic math” and discovered that if 400 people paid $5 each, the group would raise $2,000. The yearly meet up fee is nestled comfortably at a mere $144 per year. What would the newly self-elected leader do with over 10 times the amount needed for the fees?

On one hand some players believed in paying the membership fee with the justification that no one should be solely burdened with the cost of keeping this online family together. Some even offered to pay over $50 for the cause, while others blatantly refused – threatening to never roll dice with their enemies again.

Peace ensued.

Until that is – scandal broke out.

It was during an intense battle with a Lich, when phones went wild with an email notification.

The Lord of the Dice had a message for his subjects –

and it came in the form of a threat.

The email said – and I quote:

“On June 14th, there will be a reckoning! The beauty of RPG has granted me a vivid imagination and upon this day, we will march forth with our banner high and our snare drums beating to the sharp rhythm to a new day.” He later described the slow and torturous process of removing everybody from the meet-up group too frugal to bank roll his cause.

I was moderately impressed with his prose – and admittedly a bit jealous that he possessed such an astute ability to articulate his imagination.

But wait –

was this fair?

One the one hand – sharing a community cost, to me at least, seems totally legit.

Unless of course you’re over charging…

His constant Game of Thrones references and brutal imagery only confirmed what I had long dreaded –

I had to go to this reckoning to discover the truth … undercover.

Obviously, I would need an inconspicuous disguise.

So I went to my local Armoury to gather gear.

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The men at the Comic Book Shop picked out only the finest foam weapon. They even recommended armour –

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but it cost $650.

The reckoning would be held at Remedy Cafe.

And I was incognito defined.

DSC_0053

Bursting into the cafe, I made my way to the table of six wearing really cool t-shirts. I did not stand out at all. In fact, everyone was quite accepting of my bastard sword, over sized beach ball D20, face paint and Dungeons and Dragons t-shirt.

I decided to scope out the situation.

“How many people paid?” I asked demurely to the man in charge.

“Twenty nine,” he mumbled – barely making eye contact.

Twenty nine people out of 400 was an impressive 7%.

Obviously, instilling the fear of an imaginary shit storm wasn’t enough to get players to cough up the dough.

“Does this mean you’re going to kick out over 350 people for not paying?”

“Well no,” he stammered going on to explain his tactic – he wanted to scare people into paying “like Game of Thrones,” he closed confidently. He proceeded to preach about how gamers had the “entitlement mentality” and how “drama sells.”

DSC_0078

Eager to change the subject – the God of Gaming produced a book from his bag of holding. “Look,” he said energetically, “I have a door prize for one of you.”

The book slowly levitated off the table, revealing its title. No one knew of the fantasy text – nor did anyone particularly care. I asked if anyone wanted it, and was rewarded with a few awkward head shakes.

One player couldn’t take it anymore, “I offered to cover the yearly cost of the meet-up on the condition that you would waive the membership fee,” he shouted.

Gasps escaped the lips of the four others paying attention.

“We already discussed this, if we take money from you – then we can’t charge the others fees.”

What did that even mean?

I still couldn’t get over the “forced” membership fee that wasn’t required.

When asked where the extra money would go, all the Gaming Master could offer were empty promises of family barbecues, and visits from that woman who wrote 50 Shades of Grey.

Ok, in fairness – he didn’t offer the latter, but that’s because the group couldn’t afford her.

I then boldly went where no one else would go and asked, “Do any of you pay for any other meet-up forums?”

One by one, each role player shamefully shook their head.

I had reached my level of tolerable bull shit for the day.

After his affirmation that no one would get booted from the group, I collected my weapons and dice and decided to leave.

It was only on my way home that I learned an invaluable lesson – Mana potions (those little energy drinks packaged in a potion shaped bottle) sold at comic book stores contain over 6,000% of your daily vitamin B intake.

That shit will kill you.

Sweet Dreams World.

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78 replies

  1. Nice to see you crusading to save the world… one unjust fee at a time. Carry on.

    • Thanks Daryl! It was loads of fun.

      • I like your style. sparse … nice. each line or two or occasionally three , separated … like a paragraph … is actually that … a paragraph! very cool. all the information needed to move on to the next thought/experience or whatever … in a few words. kind of like, the story a frog would tell while leaping from one water Lily to the next. no wasted movement … straight ahead …

        thought without dozens of words yet … complete.

        experience … without dozens of words yet complete too, like, someone else might write: “… before I got out of there, i moved across the room, found another chair, sat down next to this fat fuck who was reading a porn magazine behind his textbook. that’s when i got up and left. after a while I decided to go over to rick’s house.

        you might say:

        “…i sat down next to this fat fuck who was reading porn. i got disgusted and left. Rick’s house was only two blocks away. i thought; Hellooo, Rick … .”

        eeaah … at least I tried. maybe you could do better. I’m curious.

        anyway, you should read the three short stories in The River Swimmer by jim Harrison. his sentences are like paragraphs too. thanks for acquainting yourself with Nick and Jessica. they’re a pretty nice couple. they like to laugh. nice to make your acquaintance. i really like your style. i’ll be back. ks

  2. I wanted to comment on the last bit of info: methinks, 6,000% of daily vitamin B intake wont kill anyone, the excess would just come out with your pee, making it look dark yellow, amber or brown colored.

    So, I suppose they pack those things with so much B-Vitamin, not for nutritional purposes but just to make people’s pee look fancy.

  3. The real sin here is crap marketing. This gaming master sounds like a bad baddy from a 60’s Robin Hood movie. His marketing skills being about as good as an attempt to kill Adam West version Batman!

    You see Robin Hood was able to rise up against the greedy Sheriff because the sheriff taxed everyone…badly.

    Your dungeon master was similarly on the take when he didn’t need to be…

    “We have started a new sub-group for the forrest of Nottingham Role Playing Group and forum. The forum has become big and we want to make sure core users can get serious and share stuff away from the general Forrest forum.

    To keep this a bit exclusive we will be charging a small 5 Groat fee to join the group. We thought about charging more but felt 5 Groats was enough to achieve what we are looking to achieve. The new gold membership area goes live on xx/mm/yyyy and we have some awesome news to share with those who want to join us there. We can’t wait to share it with you…For those of you who don’t want to join the MEMBERS ONLY area, it will, of course, be business as usual.”

    And so it was throughout the land that the stupid and curious poor wanted to give the Sheriff their money. Why?

    ‘Cause we all just wanna be big rockstars
    And live in hilltop houses, drivin’ fifteen cars

    But this confidence trick would surely worketh not upon the peasants!
    (Quickly Delete thread and implement the convincers via some well placed evil minion posts and conversations.

    “Wow have you been into the new Gold Area?”
    “Yes, You should Join us John the Peasant”
    “I don’t use the “general” area much anymore, you should join the Gold Area
    “The game playing is so much better in the…”

    Welcome to the Matrix

    Every day we buy shit we don’t really need. We even regularly vote for guys who will “make a change” for us…whilst being paid by our own tax revenue to do so…

    Learn to take the red pill.

  4. PS…the armour would have been awesome to go shopping in. just of to buy some milk LOL

  5. I’m sure there are less superficial issues in your post, but all I can think to say for the time being is, “nice boots”.

  6. Invite everyone in the community to a “wedding” (maybe it has a theme colour…say “red”) and let loose the hounds of hell!

  7. PS In what inner city can you get a $5 blow job? I mean…I’m just asking…you know…for a friend!

  8. …”the previous moderator announced to all 400 plus members he could no longer carry the yearly cost for maintaining the group.”
    Why should he incur the costs for others’ entertainment. And any extra would cover his time and efforts in his job as the moderator of the group. It isn’t like he is getting rich off of that amount!

    The members are free to move on and possibly moderate their own group, if they think it is all fun and games. There are always choices. No one is being held at gunpoint to stay&pay-just MHO.

    • And you know what – I totally agree. Truly, I do. That being said, the elusiveness of where the hypothetical extra $1,850 would go was what got many ppl scratching their heads. People were also concerned that instead of nurturing a community, it would remove 93% of it over night – AND it would hinder new people from joining. The fishy part was when other players discovered that someone offered to voluntarily cover the cost of the meet-up on the condition that this fee would be waived and no one would get expelled from the group – this offer was rejected.

      But yes, I do agree with you in principal. And thank you for commenting.

      • Honestly, if the money is put toward the group on the whole(which in my understanding it will be), then I have exactly no problem with putting in $5 (42 cents per month lol). Stuff does cost money and the site is just one cost that it takes to do this stuff. (also OPTIONAL COST!)

  9. Good story. It had everything. Deceit,passion,intrigue and dice.

  10. You looked awesome (and somewhat terrifying).

  11. It’s a tough call but I think the difference between €0 and €5 is greater than €5 and €10! In my opinion…

  12. Oh that beach ball D20, where ever did you get it? ❀ I will agree, it is a bit fishy with where the money will go, if anything it reminds me of my World of Warcraft days where I can't believe I spent $15 a month for a game that's not even fun unless you have friends to play with. Now those Mana Potions, tasty.


  13. When nerds and geeks go bad! Next on Geraldo!

  14. Thank`s for your visit. You certianly have found the right topics to explore. πŸ™‚ very interesting reading.

  15. Hey stranger,
    Just wanted to let you know that I have nominated you for the Always Here If You Need Me Award, for your ongoing support and enthusiasm for my blog and just life in general.
    Shareen Ayoub (A Day in the Life of Shareen A), whose irreverent sense of humour beautifully parallels mine and who freely engages with me through our blogs or on Twitter
    As is the case, your reward goes not without punishment, so you can find the deets on my blog at: http://createdbyrcw.wordpress.com/2013/06/16/always-here-if-you-need-me-award/
    Randy

  16. Please remember that your opinions are your own, and please stop making hateful claims while trying to hide behind the anonymity of the internet. If you had a problem with this group, you should have addressed it in person or simply left with dignity, rather than make a derogatory and sexually offense internet post and throwing a temper tantrum, claiming to be the centre of morality in the world.

    The fact of the matter is that Meetup charges a fee for hosting, and many Meetup groups ask for financial. If you are so upset over the notion of paying a membership fee to join a group, then don’t. That is your choice. But please do not misrepresent a group that’s trying to stay a float as being tyrannical and spreading lies.

    We as gamers are all a part of a much larger community. Taking swings at each other and starting pointless fights does nothing to help this community or the gaming industry.

    Feel free to delete my comment if you feel threatened by it. But know that doing so is the coward’s way out, and squelching those who oppose you betrays your dignity and ethics as a blogger and aspiring writer. There is a time for advocacy. There is a time for reporting. There is a time for disagreeing with someone. But please don’t pretend to be a martyr.

  17. Let’s start with the anonymity issue – obviously a blog titled “A Day in the Life of Shareen A.” with my image plastered all over the site is clearly indicative of me “hiding” behind the internet.

    Mr. B.C. – who’s hiding behind the anonymity of the internet now.

    Kindly look up the definition of sexual – please.

    Obviously – I am the centre of morality – like all bloggers are. And obviously martyrs walk around Edmonton with foam swords and oversized beach balls.
    Personally, I agree with you regarding charging a small fee for the cost of the meet-up. That being said, when someone offered to pay the full cost under the condition that you waive the obligatory fee- I found it immensely fishy that the leadership would refuse such an offer.
    Was it because the man in charge is too greedy to share power? Or is possibly because (and he mentioned this) he wouldn’t be able to charge members for events in the future?

    Everyone who reads a blog understands that it is a forum for self-expression and opinion – so you clarifying that at the beginning was redundant.

    I think – to be honest – it’s quite sad that you took the time (on father’s day) to write such a hearty comment about a girl who dressed up as a pirate to cover the issue of an annual 5$ fee for a role playing meet-up. I’m so sorry my war paint didn’t indicate that this was a comical post.

    Thank you for your comment πŸ™‚
    Sincerely,
    Anonymous

    • I do want to thank you for not deleting my comment. I genuinely mean that. It shows that you are not a petty person and that you do care about having an exchange of thought in some means or another.

      My feelings on anonymity are because you and others left the event in a huff, rather than face the matter with a man who was happy to openly discuss it with you. You then took to the anonymity of the internet (regardless of how many names or photos are attached) to make an attack, rather than face the issue directly. The man you are denouncing is also a man who is actively seeking out the thoughts and help of the community in order to develop more events and networking for the local gaming community, a point which cannot be made when only part of the story is made known. I hardly call that greedy. As for why I withheld my name, it is because I did not want to alert you to being one of the people at the Meetup event and thus be subject to censorship.

      In reading the backlog of discussion and announcements, there are reasons why a lump sum payment was not accepted. One of the reasons was that having one person pay for everything started this whole problem in the first place. If the others at the table had not continued to interrupt, this would have been voiced.

      As for your attempts at humor with your post, please be adviced that sarcasm requires auditory and physical cues to signal the joke. It is very easy to view a blog entry like this as hateful and troublesome rather than cheeky and full of jest, since those cues are absent. It has also done nothing but hurt people and cause problems. If this wasn’t your intention, that understanding is very easy to miss.

      I do not wish to start an argument with you, nor do I wish to censor your opinion. Again, I appreciate you reciprocating that and choosing to make my comments public. As I said, your opinions are yours and mine are mine. I simply wish to provide other information that were missed or left out of your post, so that those who come across this post do not misinterpret the situation.

      I am happy to discuss more, as long as it is a discussion. I don’t want to start online arguments though, nor will I be dragged into a confrontation like the one that happened on Friday, since they accomplish less than nothing and only harm our hobby. Failing that, let’s just shake and part ways.

  18. $5 blow job??
    Sounds greatttt to me…………

  19. I am in awe of your intrepid expeditions…and your bastard sword.

  20. I nominated you for an a “Shine On” award. Go to http://funnyphilosopher.wordpress.com/ (6-18) for details.

  21. Gamer girl, nice. Out of curiosity how did you find my blog?

  22. To be honest, I know nothing about the game or culture of what you just wrote about, but I absolutely loved reading this! You’re fantastic!

  23. Your outfit was great!! I wish I had stopped at Remedy that day, the outfits at your table would have given me a smile. πŸ˜‰

  24. I’ve just got one question: where do I get one of those D20 beach balls?

  25. Were you kicked out of the meetup group as a result of this? Where you had commented on the event it only says “a former member.”

  26. That really stinks. This is an embarrassment…you’re a threat because you disagreed with his opinion? He is not paying for the meet-up group. That was not his decision to make.

  27. Too funny! I love your gumption Shareen! I can’t believe they kicked you out! Seriously… a woman, dressed up too… and they actually kicked you out! Well… says it all really! πŸ˜‰

  28. A thoroughly enjoyable read. Thank you.

    PS – Are blow jobs really only $5?? If so, I’ve got to get out of London!

  29. Clever, amusing little economics lesson for any willing to think while reading; thank you!

  30. What a fun read – and a slightly scary look into the world of gamers!

  31. The guy sounds like a douche. Perhaps get in contact with a few others and set up a new group? Perhaps also mention it to CRA if you’re feeling mean.
    http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/menu-eng.html

  32. Dude, how do you get time for this kind of elaborate … um, intervention? πŸ™‚

    You into this stuff, or your husband?

    Greets

  33. PMSL, over so many things in this post and the comments. First – this brings back memories of my Dungeon and Dragon days (looks around to make sure no one else saw that) when the game was the end all. Second – I do understand people taking this way too seriously, and gamers, well we tend to forget to look outside of the box our game comes in, but it’s great to see you have kept your wit and sense of humor.

    I see that many times you said you’d pay the fee, but you wanted to see where the rest of the money would go; that was not unreasonable, but the comments left by Mr. B C anonymously (albeit it was very easy to tell who it might be) show that you hit a nerve with your questions.

    How anyone with brain enough to game couldn’t tell that your post was full of sarcasm and wit, that you used humor to let us all in on something that was important to you, but that wasn’t going to end your world; well that just shows that there was more to the money than what was put out.

    I think you were banned only because you were seen as a threat, and maybe in the heat of battle you might not have healed out of spite.

    Thank you for the like…and I plan on following you and your amazing pov!! πŸ™‚

    • Staci, how dare you attack me and say that I have no brain, you stupid bitch. Sarcasm requires a certain amount of body language, varying intonation, and other non-linguistic information. It is very easy to read this post as an attack meant to stir up problems and start fights. If you have a fucking problem with me, why don’t you put down your fucking keyboard and say it to my face. That such hate and ignorance spewed from your mouth truly proves who doesn’t have a brain.

      • Who is spewing hatred now? How I was able to touch such a nerve in a person that I do not know, and that shouldn’t be taking the comments of someone that they do not know so seriously is beyond me. I am more than willing to put my keyboard down and meet you to end this apparent affront to your sensibilities. As you do not know who is on the other end of this message I would advise you to think wisely before wishing to meet face to face. If 2 tours in afghanistan didn’t scare me, keeping count of my own confirmed kills didn’t affect me, then what makes you think that your small minded words will. Again, until you understand who it is that you are threatening I’d think twice before asking for a face to face.

        But to be the bigger person in this pointless argument, I will no longer engage with you, but feel free to stop by and make your comments public next time.

      • Interesting. I happen to teach writing (PhD in English Language and Literature) and write professionally. To date, I’ve never had a problem noticing or indicating sarcasm in the written word. I’d love to know where this idea that sarcasm “requires” non-linguistic cues comes from.

  34. One, I happen to agree with you wholeheartedly. The guy’s math just did not add up. I like your style, too. Very well written.

    Two, and the real reason that I came wandering over here… thank you so much for your willingness to press the “like” button on one of my story chapters! It means a lot to me when someone takes the time to do that. So thank you very much!

  35. A hilarious look into the world of gamers. Looks like I’m missing out on some nerdy righteousness by not doing RPG.

  36. It seems that my post hit a nerve with someone that I do not even know. BC deemed me worthy of a slanderous comment back to my reply, and it is apparently private so that no one else could see what he said to me.

    Fear not though, as he pointed out, since I am the one without a brain I did not take him/her seriously when he told me to put down my keyboard and face him/her. But this is the internet, and such threats are easy to make, especially when you do not know what the person behind the screen is capable of, or what they are able to do with your IP address.

    So if you decide to make a comment, please include BC in it so that he/she can send you slanderous messages back.

    Shareen I apologize for posting this on your blog…and if BC would like to come at me again and threaten, then BC needs to ensure a mature dialogue can ensue and not make it impossible for a reply.

  37. you are a vision in foam and chainmail. and if you ever hold a raffle for that 20-sided die in foam, let me know πŸ™‚

  38. Paying for internet stuff, top lel.

    You look nice in costume.

    I thought I already liked this and followed your blog but now I noticed it didnt, must have been my borrowed connection.

  39. What a scam!

    I’ve heard about ways to make money blogging, but that was low.

  40. Girl – you are too funny! Thanks for sharing your saga…

  41. Do these RPG players realize that $144 is typical when a man takes a woman out to a fine restaurant, plus a movie? If you want a life beyond your computer screen and the internet, be prepared to pony up some money.

  42. Are these things usually done at someone’s retail store? If yes then I say pay the $5. The extra 93% goes tot the guy sacrificing retail space for gamers, but she should divide it up and collect 42 cents per month front all 400. But then of course he would be rounding up from .416 to .42 each month which is an additional $3.20 a month! Maybe he could provide each member 1 tic tac per month or something. It must be very challenging.

  43. Great read…Just started browsing your blog today…it’s brilliantly funny (or funnily brilliant, I haven’t decided yet)

  44. You know, I came upon this blog post when I checked looked up “who’s attacking meetup.com” in light of the DDOS attacks against meetup right now. You should be ashamed of yourself. I organize meetup groups in Raleigh, North Carolina for one of the biggest social groups in the city. I don’t charge membership fees, but have thought about it.

    Do you realize how much of a job it is to plan and organize events? Not to mention the shit that organizers take from people at those events? Case in point, last week I planned a “middle school style” dance that 100 folks wound up coming to. The idea was for singles or couples to come out and basically just have fun. The venue was free, because I found a bar that wanted 100+ people to drink at their establishment. The DJ was furnished by the bar as well. I went out and bought some decorations and beads…the beads were to identify you if you were single. On top of that, I bought name tags, I do this when we have over 50 people attending an event, so you can be identified.

    I paid 20 dollars out of pocket, not much, but I also put in about 10-15 hours of my time over the course of a month to bring this event to people. I put out a donation jar, hoping that the folks that had a little fun would throw in a buck or two. I raised 5 dollars from the 100+ people that showed up.

    I didn’t even really get to have a lot of fun because I was talking to the folks that were new, trying to introduce them around, and trying to make sure everyone had fun. The next day, I started getting negative posts about how “I didn’t know anyone and felt uncomfortable”…from a guy who didn’t dress up or attempt to talk to anyone. Or the guy who said “It was too loud” about a dance party.

    I’d say the majority of the folks had a good time, but we rarely hear about that. We rarely get good feedback.

    Back to this case. The guy wants to charge a 5 dollar membership fee and you “confronted him”. First of all, if he’s charging 5 bucks, it’s going to help pay for the dues. Secondly, it will help pay him for his time, to keep him planning events that you enjoy going to. Third, it’s going to help increase the number of people who RSVP and then actually show up (I mean, heck if you have money in something you’ll go). If you enjoy a service you should help support it.

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