Raddu on organising D&D and community involvement

System-neutral discussion of campaign setting and game world design. Discussion of existing rules systems belongs in The Crunchy Bits and its sub-forums.
Post Reply
User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
Posts: 22524
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Gender: male
Location: London UK
Contact:

Raddu on organising D&D and community involvement

Post by Big Mac » Sat Dec 30, 2017 2:22 pm

Robert Adducci (known as Raddu on The Piazza and other forums) has just posted an article called Reflections on Organizing D&D and Community Involvement.

Raddu is just about to step down as Adventurers League Community Manager at Wizards of the Coast. I'm hoping this might mean he has a bit more time to come over here and talk about Dark Sun and the stuff going on on The Burnt World of Athas, but this post is a great way to go out.

The entire thing is worth a read, but two things stand out:
Robert Adducci at D&D Adventurers League wrote:We need DMs to continue to grow this hobby. DM’s are usually the organizer for their groups, they’re usually the ones with the impetus to get things rolling, to get a group together and to find the location to play at. This isn’t always the case, many players are the organizer for their groups, but in general it’s the Dungeon Master. Thank you to all the Dungeon Master’s out there. Without them to organize and run the game this hobby would die. But what happens when the DM needs to step away for personal or professional reasons? Then it’s up to a player to continue to organize or to step up even more and become the DM. We’ll always need DMs and I encourage all of you players reading this to take a stab at DMing, you may like it. Personally, I find a million times more joy in DMing than I do in playing, you may too.
This is an important thing. I've seen people who are obsessed with rules bash people for getting things wrong. I know I got made to feel that you had to be an expert at D&D before you were able to be a GM back when I was playing 2nd Edition.

I think it's important to help people break through the "surface tension" if they want to learn how to become a GM. There is plenty of talk about GMs helping newbie players into the game, but I think it's probably just as important, if not more important, to have players help newbie GMs to start running games.
Robert Adducci at D&D Adventurers League wrote:When you join these communities as a fan reach out, answer questions with thoughtful answers. Please don’t be flippant with your answers, often times a joking reply can seem sarcastic or mean and can throw off new members of these communities. Please answer with a teachers mind. Help your fellow community members to learn how to find the answers so they can answer questions for themselves and others later with confidence. Take care of each other and support each other. When needed, contact the group admins and report malicious replies, they can’t be everywhere and will appreciate the help. Remember to follow the Code of Conduct anywhere you’re discussing or participating in AL conversations, whether you’re online or in person.

We can only grow our communities by offering support to others. Communities are meant to be places that offer enjoyment and knowledge, are you offering that? Are you helping to build the place you want to be part of?
This actually reminds me of something I saw recently in a 5e D&D group on Facebook.

Some random guy asked for information about how planes work and got jokes about how aircraft work. And with Facebook hiding older posts, I saw more and more and more and more jokes about aircraft wings and lift and so on. I'm guessing that most of the people though they were the only person making the joke, but the long and short of it was that well over 60 percent of the topic was the same joke over and over and over again. And the original poster got fed up and locked his own topic.

I actually sent the guy a Facebook PM where I was talking about how you can get into a life in a department store and then get out on an identical shaped floor that has different stuff going on. He probably won't ever see it (as Facebook hides PMs sent to non-friends, unless you pay them) but it's the sort of thing that fans of D&D should be saying to try to help each other.

I'm glad that I mostly see people helping other people over here, in our D&D community.

I hope that some of the people who have joined The Piazza have made the jump from playing to GMing. And I hope that everyone learns enough about the settings and rules they like the most, so that they can feel like they have taught at least one other Piazza member something they didn't know before.

I know you lot have taught me a ton of stuff. Now I've just got to get myself together and start running a Spelljammer game in 2018.
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and The Piazza's Google + community so that you can stay in touch.
Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project - Spelljammer Wiki - The Spelljammer Image Group.
Moderator of the Spelljammer forum. My moderator voice is green.

User avatar
timemrick
Hekatonkhieres
Posts: 1281
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 2:33 am
Gender: male
Location: Emirate of Kobara
Contact:

Re: Raddu on organising D&D and community involvement

Post by timemrick » Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:50 am

One of the things I appreciate most about The Piazza is that friendly, helpful attitude that you mentioned, Mac. Too many other forums (and Facebook groups) have turned me off because threads regularly got derailed by pointless tangents, grossly mishandled sensitive topics, and/or personal attacks. I've never had to worry about that here. Sure, we've had the occasional "family squabble" that an admin has had to step in to redirect or even lock down, but I haven't seen anything near the level of vitriol here that seems commonplace elsewhere.

I haven't tried D&D Adventurer's League yet, though I know my FLGS hosts weekly AL games. Mostly that's because I got into Pathfinder Society first, and I only have so much time that I can commit to this hobby. One of the things that I most like about PFS is seeing and trying out bits and pieces of the vast body of game content that I haven't yet had a chance to explore in my own home games. However, this same wealth of material is actually proving to be an obstacle to me feeling comfortable about GMIng PFS scenarios myself. The prospect of running a game for players who are using content from sources I've only read once or twice--or not at all, because I don't own it--is pretty intimidating for someone like me, who is used to being the rules expert in almost every group I've played with.

Ironically, my wife, who joined PFS much later than I did, and who has many years less GMing experience than I do, is prepping to GM her first PFS game sometime soon. You see, she's used to not being completely confident about what she's doing as a GM, but she tries her hand at it now and then anyway, because I and other friends keep encouraging her. :mrgreen:

If I ever do get into D&D Adventurer's League, I don't foresee having the same block against GMing it as I do with PFS. D&D 5E is at least an order of magnitude simpler than Pathfinder, so even though I still consider myself a bit of a novice at GMing it, there's much less of it that I'm not familiar with yet.
Tim Emrick, Green Ronin Freebooter and Keeper of the Freeport Errata
Winds of Freeport: My Pathfinder Freeport campaign (2014-2016).
Time of the Tarrasque: My homebrew Pathfinder campaign (2017-).
Studded Plate: My blog about RPGs and LEGO.
Thastygliax's Vault: My other gaming pages.

User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
Posts: 22524
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Gender: male
Location: London UK
Contact:

Re: Raddu on organising D&D and community involvement

Post by Big Mac » Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:33 pm

timemrick wrote:One of the things I appreciate most about The Piazza is that friendly, helpful attitude that you mentioned, Mac. Too many other forums (and Facebook groups) have turned me off because threads regularly got derailed by pointless tangents, grossly mishandled sensitive topics, and/or personal attacks. I've never had to worry about that here. Sure, we've had the occasional "family squabble" that an admin has had to step in to redirect or even lock down, but I haven't seen anything near the level of vitriol here that seems commonplace elsewhere.
Experience is a funny thing, because there are lots of people in most communities and our "windows" onto those communities are via the specific people we encounter (mostly the people who answer us, but also the other people we read posts of). So we all have slightly different experiences.

There is a sort of "entropy" that I have noticed in social interactions that means that some of the energy we spend talking to other people is lost. Some folks might get more words back from people they talk to in a community, but sometimes people don't know the answer to a question. Or sometimes someone might spend time writing an answer that they genuinely think is helpful, but the OP might not be helped by that answer. That's just "social entropy" eating up some background energy. Even with everyone having good faith and trying their best to be helpful some of the time people spend being helpful is lost.

If you post 100 posts in The Piazza, even though this place is overwhelmingly helpful and friendly, you still might not get exactly 100 helpful replies. Imagine if (for the sake of discussion) there was "social entropy" eating up 50 percent of the interaction people were making.

For someone like me, who has almost 22,000 replies that might not notice at all. Imagine if 11,000 people wrote nice helplful things to me and the other posts didn't get a response (and that everyone got one helpful reply per post they made). That would still give me more helpful replies than anyone on the forum except Havard. So I would still be getting an amazing amount of help (which I do) and having a good time.

For someone like yourself, with a post count above 1,100 a 50 percent drop of "social entropy" would still give you 550 useful replies. That might still be enough to make you feel happy and enjoy the community.

But when we get down to newbie level, when people are on their first post, social entropy starts to get a bit like quantum mechanics. The amount of help someone gets changes from being a percentage and starts turning into binary "good" or "bad" experience. If we went with the same (hypothetical) 50 percent response rate, that would give us 50 percent of newbies who posted and got a nice helpful reply...and 50 percent of newbies who went all the way through the sign up process and then got ignored.

That's why, even though I think that The Piazza is the best D&D community I've ever been involved with, I'm concious of the fact that newbies generally don't have a big enough "footprint" to experience that same experience that I get. The sort of advice that Raddu gave is probably much more important when people are interacting with new members of any community (including The Piazza).

The same must logically apply to newbie DMs.
timemrick wrote:I haven't tried D&D Adventurer's League yet, though I know my FLGS hosts weekly AL games. Mostly that's because I got into Pathfinder Society first, and I only have so much time that I can commit to this hobby. One of the things that I most like about PFS is seeing and trying out bits and pieces of the vast body of game content that I haven't yet had a chance to explore in my own home games. However, this same wealth of material is actually proving to be an obstacle to me feeling comfortable about GMIng PFS scenarios myself. The prospect of running a game for players who are using content from sources I've only read once or twice--or not at all, because I don't own it--is pretty intimidating for someone like me, who is used to being the rules expert in almost every group I've played with.

Ironically, my wife, who joined PFS much later than I did, and who has many years less GMing experience than I do, is prepping to GM her first PFS game sometime soon. You see, she's used to not being completely confident about what she's doing as a GM, but she tries her hand at it now and then anyway, because I and other friends keep encouraging her. :mrgreen:

If I ever do get into D&D Adventurer's League, I don't foresee having the same block against GMing it as I do with PFS. D&D 5E is at least an order of magnitude simpler than Pathfinder, so even though I still consider myself a bit of a novice at GMing it, there's much less of it that I'm not familiar with yet.
The availability of time is a big deal, isn't it. It's easy to be interested in lots of different types of D&D, and spread yourself too thin and not be able to do stuff. I've tried to do that in the past, but I spoke to a couple of friends and they both suggested that I focus more. So now I try to focus (mostly) on Spelljammer (and 3rd Edition) although I do like hearing stories from people who like other things.

I did do one game with Pathfinder Society. I've got a membership number somewhere, but I can't remember where. I've never played in Adventurers League or the RPGA, but they both have some interesting sounding adventures. There is a very short and punchy playstyle with those adventures. I think the format might be good for one-shot games in campaign settings. (I wonder if WotC has switched from the RPGA to Adventurers League in order to make the adventures more accessible to non D&D AL players.)

I wonder if Freeport will ever have anything like organised play. :)
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and The Piazza's Google + community so that you can stay in touch.
Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project - Spelljammer Wiki - The Spelljammer Image Group.
Moderator of the Spelljammer forum. My moderator voice is green.

User avatar
timemrick
Hekatonkhieres
Posts: 1281
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 2:33 am
Gender: male
Location: Emirate of Kobara
Contact:

Re: Raddu on organising D&D and community involvement

Post by timemrick » Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:44 am

Big Mac wrote:[Fermi problem mathing snipped]

That's why, even though I think that The Piazza is the best D&D community I've ever been involved with, I'm concious of the fact that newbies generally don't have a big enough "footprint" to experience that same experience that I get. The sort of advice that Raddu gave is probably much more important when people are interacting with new members of any community (including The Piazza).

The same must logically apply to newbie DMs.
I'd say that's a very useful way to look at it, Mac! It can often be hard for us veteran gamers (or forum-users) to remember how different seeing all this for the first time can be like.
Big Mac wrote:I wonder if Freeport will ever have anything like organised play. :)
It's funny, I was thinking on this exact subject yesterday! I'm working on a couple blog posts about using Xanathar's Guide to Everything with Freeport, and that book has a short appendix about shared campaigns (using AL as an example for smaller-scale organized play). My current thinking is that Green Ronin is far too small to create and oversee organized play for their games, but fans might do it on a small scale, like a local gaming club.
Tim Emrick, Green Ronin Freebooter and Keeper of the Freeport Errata
Winds of Freeport: My Pathfinder Freeport campaign (2014-2016).
Time of the Tarrasque: My homebrew Pathfinder campaign (2017-).
Studded Plate: My blog about RPGs and LEGO.
Thastygliax's Vault: My other gaming pages.

Post Reply

Return to “The Squishy Bits”