Sunday, December 9, 2012

I Go Pro

It's something that every DM has dreamed of at one point or another; getting paid to run role-playing games. There were even a few schemes back in the 80's and 90's to set up such things; "Professional Game Master Guilds" and so forth, where one would presumably have a level of assurance that the game master would be well enough above average to justify the expense. Needless to say, such things never got off the ground.

So imagine my surprise when I was contacted by a game store, which was looking to pay someone to run an old-school game for a client of theirs. It turns out that a local businessman wanted to play in an old-school game similar to the ones he played growing up, but had no idea where to find someone to run it. So he contacted the store, which in turn contacted me. Last Friday, I ran the game for the gentleman and some of the people who work in his office, which ended up being about an hour and a half away.

The game itself was pretty standard fare for me; I brought along Castle of the Mad Archmage and a bunch of pre-gen characters, and set to. The organizer and one other person had played before (in the distant past), but the other four people had never played a game in their lives; apparently the office regularly has extra-curricular activities like this (they even play paintball at a field about 10 minutes from my house!). One person from the store came along to make sure everything went okay, and he ended up rounding out the party, as one of the attendees ended up calling out sick.

One thing I found was that this was one of the most focused games I had played in a long while. There was very little cross-table chit-chat, and they got a remarkable amount of exploring and fighting done in that time. It only took a short while for everyone to really get in the swing of things; even the people who had never played before were as engaged as anyone I've seen, offering good and practical suggestions to get through puzzles and traps, and holding their own in combat. It was really neat to see how people react to the game from completely fresh perspectives.

On the whole, it was a great time. The players seemed to really enjoy themselves, and it was an extraordinary honor to be called to do something like this as a paying gig. I don't expect it to happen too often (or perhaps even ever again), but it was especially neat to have as an experience. Oh, and apparently I have "issues". Something to do with certain particularly twisted parts of the Castle... I took it as a compliment. ;-)


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