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Bloomberg has a story on professional GMing [merged]

deflagratio

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So that $500 play session breaks down to roughly $30 per hour per person assuming a 4 person group. That seems like a lot of entertainment per hour and you don't have to deal with any kind of crowd.
 

AegonTheUnready

Friend to kittens everywhere
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This popped up in my feed today. I thought the subject matter may be of interest to folks here for obvious reasons. :) $500 a session? Man, geek culture really has won, hasn't it?
The rise of the professional dungeon master

On a recent Friday evening, Devon Chulick stood in the kitchen of his San Francisco apartment brewing potions. A dry-erase game board with a grid of black squares to assist in drawing maps was laid neatly across the coffee table in the living room, along with a dozen or so miniature elves, wizards and drow rogues, which had been released from their Tupperware prisons.

In an hour, a trio of twenty- and thirtysomething Google employees were scheduled to arrive for an entry-level "Dungeons & Dragons" game. “They’ll love this,” Chulick said, sloshing the brew, a combination of water, vanilla and cherry bitters; while not exactly essential to the quest, the concoction “adds to the experience.” Tall, bearded, dressed in black up to his glasses, Chulick looked the part of a Silicon Valley product manager — which he is, at bro-tastic swimwear company Chubbies. But in his free time, he said, “everything is fantasy.”

Since October, he’s been moonlighting as a dungeon master-for-hire, catering primarily to those entering the world of D&D for the first time and seeking instruction in the game’s owlbears, Icewind Dale and other mythological features, plus a few clients who are dusting off the rule books they put away with other childish things in the early 1980s. Until a few years ago, the idea of engaging a professional dungeon master, or DM, would have seemed absurd. In the old days, if a DM accepted payment at all for the work of organizing and creating challenges for a game, it was usually in pizza slices or beer, depending on the age group involved. Most of the time, your DM was a buddy with a talent for making up stories. Demand, paid or unpaid, was relatively anemic.
The author could have done without the "childish things" dig. Piss off, journalist lady.

more here
 

Scurrilous

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I remember this concept being much discussed on rpg.net back in the day. There are significant legal barriers to doing it relating to the making of money off of someone else's intellectual property.
 

JetstreamGW

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This popped up in my feed today. I thought the subject matter may be of interest to folks here for obvious reasons. :) $500 a session? Man, geek culture really has won, hasn't it?


The author could have done without the "childish things" dig. Piss off, journalist lady.

more here
It might just be a badly phrased C.S. Lewis quote

When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.
 

punksmurph

There he is
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I remember this concept being much discussed on rpg.net back in the day. There are significant legal barriers to doing it relating to the making of money off of someone else's intellectual property.
I started looking into this and it turns out this is not a new thing, there are people out there that do actually charge for the service. There are not rules limiting people from using the RPG books as a tool for a service they provide. You cannot pass off others work as your own, and you cannot reprint material illegally, so no making copies of printed RPG books. But say you run D&D 5e, you could reprint anything in the OGL for use when you play. They even give express permission to reprint:

Permission to copy, modify and distribute the files collectively known as the System Reference Document 5.0 (“SRD5”) is granted solely through the use of the Open Gaming License, Version 1.0a.
The rules state you have to tell people you are using OGL content and that is easy enough if you are distributing information in a packet. If you do it on a small level locally I don't think a company would really take offense, I would be fine with it. But if you start really expanding and getting noticed it would be best to reach out to the publisher and find out if there is some sort of limit or liability you will incur. Using OGL or other open source content would avoid that but limit someone.
 

shockvalue

The Puncher Strikes!
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Every time I see an article about professional gaming, I think of that guy. Specifically, I think of the collosal amount of cynicism and mockery he got, when it turns out he was actually way ahead of his time and everyone who said it would never work have turned out to be objectively wrong.

Seriously, I hope that guy is making another go of it right now and being super successful.

The mask thing was weird, though. I'll give you that.
 

Uthred

Nature's critical miss
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I remember this concept being much discussed on rpg.net back in the day. There are significant legal barriers to doing it relating to the making of money off of someone else's intellectual property.
I was going to post something similar I remember one thread in particular where some chap was set on doing it and the thread was basically an extended attempt to talk him out of it.
 

punksmurph

There he is
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I was going to post something similar I remember one thread in particular where some chap was set on doing it and the thread was basically an extended attempt to talk him out of it.
That's unfortunate, if there is a demand for the work or a small niche could be created it sad to hear people were actively against it. It is a service to provide that has a good level of time commitment to it. I can understand were some people don't want the trend to be that GM's start demanding payment as it would hurt the hobby as a whole, but with most people willing to do it for free I don't see that happening.
 

Terhali

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That's unfortunate, if there is a demand for the work or a small niche could be created it sad to hear people were actively against it. It is a service to provide that has a good level of time commitment to it. I can understand were some people don't want the trend to be that GM's start demanding payment as it would hurt the hobby as a whole, but with most people willing to do it for free I don't see that happening.
Much of the opposition was because he didn't have money, a job, or a workable business plan. The short version of the story is that his father died, his mother needed financial help, and he was desperate enough to chase after fantasies instead of channeling his energies into something that had a realistic chance of making money. He planned to wear a mask, put on puppet shows, and show off his ninja skills, all while running games in restaurants. Eventually he came to his senses and IIRC accepted some poster's offer to help him find a job. I hope it worked out. He was the target of some mockery he didn't deserve (the guy was clearly in a psychological crisis) but the general sentiment that his business was doomed to failure was well founded.
 

punksmurph

There he is
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Much of the opposition was because he didn't have money, a job, or a workable business plan. The short version of the story is that his father died, his mother needed financial help, and he was desperate enough to chase after fantasies instead of channeling his energies into something that had a realistic chance of making money. He planned to wear a mask, put on puppet shows, and show off his ninja skills, all while running games in restaurants. Eventually he came to his senses and IIRC accepted some poster's offer to help him find a job. I hope it worked out. He was the target of some mockery he didn't deserve (the guy was clearly in a psychological crisis) but the general sentiment that his business was doomed to failure was well founded.
That makes it different, yeah in times of crisis people can get really outlandish. When both me and my wife were out of work at the same time I thought it would be totally fine to drive an hour and a half or more each way in LA traffic for work. It was a terrible idea. Then hey I could totally make money running my own business full time...during the worst part of the recession...while not having another income source...that was bad too. I did eventually run a side consultancy, then full time for a bit on my own, but went back to working for a company. Being a part time paid GM seems like a decent gig.
 
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