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An Experiment of Community

It’s no secret that in college I was heavily involved in my campus’ Roleplaying Guild, even serving as its president for a year, and organizing a gaming convention besides. One of the big things I missed when I moved back to New York was the tight-knit community that I’d found in the Guild, the people I’d come to call some of my closest friends whom I could count on to go with to Free Comic Book Day and various Marvel/DC movie premieres.

When I moved back, I knew nobody–aside from my own brother–who played. And his group only met during breaks, so they were good for maybe a one-shot or two, but certainly not a campaign.

So my World of Warcraft guild became my surrogate community in the meantime. But it wasn’t the same.

It was sheer luck that led the guy I was dating at the time to remark offhandedly that a mutual friend of ours was playing a game of D&D that night. Swallowing my nervousness (I hadn’t spoken to him in nearly four years, and god knows that he thought of me as his friend’s ex-girlfriend), I broached the idea of a game to him on Facebook, to which he eagerly responded. (Apparently my date had, with some trepidation, mentioned my earlier interest to him. The gaming boy wondered what my date was worried about–“what was I going to do, steal Katrina?” Funny story, that.)

But we still only had the three of us, my brother included, which wasn’t nearly enough to play. A little more blind fishing on Facebook revealed that a number of my old highschool friends in the area knew how to play, or at least were interested. By happenstance, one prospective player saw another mutual friend at the Barnes & Noble checkout register while he was purchasing the core rulebooks, and instantly hooked her. I asked my best friend’s boyfriend if he’d be interested in it, since he was a bit of a geek already, and managed to lure my best friend in as well after she vehemently told me she would “never be that nerdy.”

Several friend of a friends later I have eight players at my table, not including myself. It’s a bit of a circus, but we have a great time.

But I still wanted more players. Not for this campaign, per se, but to know, to draw from, for different games for different tastes, since the nine of us were bound less by play style than by proximity. And the local community college had no group to speak of, nor was I a student to be eligible to start one, while both Friendly Local Gaming Stored are a solid fourty-five minutes to an hour drive each way, and I couldn’t justify going up or down there on any regular basis, what with gas hitting $4.20 a gallon here.

Recently Facebook revamped its Groups feature, making them easy to start and manage, even serving as a limited mailing-list for its members. It was then that it hit me to start a group of my own, not just for my individual campaigns, as I’d been doing for a few weeks now, but an Open Group, welcoming all in the greater Cornwall area.

Storm King Role-playing Gamers was born.

I added all of my friends who I knew or guessed would be interested. I asked those friends to invite theirs, who will hopefully invite their friends in turn. I’d love to see a solid group of a few dozen, maybe even more. In addition to being a great resource for players seeking campaigns and gamemasters seeking players, we could host a weekly board game night at the local Panera (or move it to the library if need be), perhaps gasp! have a real LARP or two, and if we can somehow do a bit of fundraising, maybe even screen movies such as Gamers or Darkon. I’d love to get to the point of hosting another con, but that’s a little far down the line, yet. In the meantime, though, we can certainly organize trips to others’.

I know there’s already a Mid-Hudson Gamers and Geeks meetup group. Why not just go through there? Two reasons. One, most everyone has a Facebook account, which eliminates the extra frustration of signing up for yet another site, and two, Free vs. Not-Free. Meetup.com is great in that there’s already the interest and such built-in, but having to pay $20 a month isn’t all that great. Perhaps if the first takes off we’ll expand onto the other, but for now, just Facebook will do.

What are your experiences with the role-playing community? Do you prefer to stick to your tabletop group, or have you ever belonged to a larger organization? Did you go through your school, FLGS, or have to go it alone? What resources did you utilize, what pitfalls did you encounter?

You can bet that as Storm King Role-playing Gamers grows, I’ll be grappling with those questions myself here on this blog. Until then, though, wish me luck!

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