Being a Long Term Chronicle Game Runner and Community Leader

One of the things I do on a regular basis is I help people get into running events. Many of the people that work with or for Imagine Nation are all people who at one point or another said something along the lines of “I want to run LARPs or events professionally.” Before moving forward there is a number of conversations I have with people with this as an interest to try and give as much information as I can from my 23+ years of experience.

Be it someone looking to open a franchise from one of our sister companies, or someone looking to work directly for or with us, there is a conversation I always have with these would-be event runners.  It’s a conversation that normally happens after I point out all of the truly amazing things with being an event runner with the hopes that the responsibilities and stark truths of event running don’t make every person run away.

“Understand that with the way gaming is right now, you will be dealing with issues and concerns that you could never imagine. You will deal with circumstances that you probably would never guess are related to “running a game” and you will need to be prepared for your life to change.”

I then go into examples of some of the things that my event runner friends, coworkers, and myself have dealt with over the years. I explain some of the expectations that people will have of you, be they justified expectations or not, that they will probably have to face as the years go on. I talk about the worst aspects of the job so that when they have good moments, they can enjoy those good times much more.

I tell them these things, and now all of you these things, so that they can make a more educated decision. After starting this talk with another potential co-worker yesterday, I did have the thought that maybe it was time to share this conversation with the world (and maybe get even more unexpected duties from other game runners).

So read away at the warning label that comes with being a long term game runner, and if you are one, feel free to add your own in the comments. 

I tell those interested in event running of the following...

Sooner or later you will have a player come to you and tell you that someone who either harassed or assaulted them is also attending an event. It will break your heart. You will need to believe them, you will need to stick up for them, and if those people do not feel strong enough to present themselves to the public you will need to take the social attacks intended for them on yourself. You will need to be a wall between the victim and the accused while trying to provide tools and contact options for the victim to use. You will need to watch members of your community choose to suffer in silence because they do not trust the authorities.

Sooner or later you will have people who will come to your event that have interest, culture, and views that are starkly different than those of the culture you are trying to cultivate. You will need to determine if that person, and those views, are damaging to the whole and decide what the culture you are focusing on is. How do you react to the individual who is a member of that alt-right, but does not openly express these views while at game? 

You will have people who will tell you in one breath to pay them or others for their efforts while also damning you for taking money for your labors. In the eyes of many everyone seems to be working and laboring save for the people who organize the field and create the materials. 

Sooner or later you will need to take corrective actions against someone who is popular, and some of these popular people will have perspectives so skewed that they will be incapable of accepting that they are wrong (even while still actively acting in wrong ways). 

You will need to work with guidelines presented by the labor board and follow operation standards in accordance to tax codes and labor laws. Hiring writers instead of using STs, removing 6 hour marshal shifts and having marshals do the same time as all other NPCs (instead of a standard NPC shift), and not allowing anyone but our directors/employees to handle money and take care of book keeping isn't just best practices for DR... they are the needed legal practices.  

You will want to give everything you can to your community and you will never feel like it is enough. You will give and give and give and without setting boarders for yourself you will give so much of yourself away that one day you may find that you have nothing more to give. So save your heart, mind, and soul and set borders. Set appropriate means to communicate, and sometimes shut off the outside world.

Eventually you could do well, and in doing so, you will have people who view them as competitors who will act like shit-heels. No matter how good and pious you are, there will be someone out there who will want to shit all over you for their own interests. These greasy shit people will be fonts of negativity, and that no matter how badly you may want to engage these people (and by engage that urge may be to physically or socially engage them), that you will need to take the high road and not engage them.

There will be people who treat you ill, who insult your work, who will still feel entitled to reap the fruit of your labors. These people will treat this group like a club or a bar where for some reason the patrons feel they can call the bartender a motherfucker all night, and yet still expect the bartender to be willing to serve them drinks (or stay in the bar).

You will make mistakes. Accept this now because chances are good you will hear about any mistakes you make for decades. Expect people to measure these mistakes in cumulative measure regardless of how long it has been or what you have done in between. Mistakes have no statute of limitations, and you will hear about these things YEARS later. Own them, accept them, and learn from them.

The scope of cost to work involved will never seem fair to either you, or some of your participants, for completely opposite reasons. Renting sites costs thousands of dollars for a weekend. Taxes cost thousands of dollars a year. Insurance, props, and miscellaneous costs will build up every weekend. To some people paying for 48 hours of event is unreasonable. To some people they expect the highest quality and largest investment of time by you for little or nothing. 

You will no longer be able to turn off “game runner brain” when attending events that are not even your own. This means you will never be able to be a normal player, or have the self-focus of just being a consumer, ever again. You will always put the interests of other players first, you will always try to find better ways to do things in your head, and even when you are not currently running an event you will make efforts to make the game better without consideration for yourself.

You will be expected to have answers to community and cultural issues that religions, religious leaders, politicians, and governments don’t have answers for. You will eventually be asked to give oversight and mediate in issues relating to subjects that are much larger than “a game”.