Welcome to the table.
We have so much negative content pushed at us from so many spaces. Every other post-across-platform seems to be news of assaults in smoothie shops, stolen Opals, stories of why you are the “least favorite child”, who “fuc#ing knew!” about the “womblands”, wars, plague, recession, insurrections, holographic royalty, people being crappy and talking down to others about their “ego”, it’s…. it’s so exhausting.
So what do we do? I could sit here at the table, rehashing the negative in the world, try and chime in on some hot-button harm in the social space for views. But if I did that I would not be Anton The Storyteller.
When my party goes through some heavy emotional moments in-game (or are going through some tough moments in real life) I change things up at the table a bit. I reach into my stack of notebooks and I pull out what some would affectionately refer to as “A Shopping Episode.”
Now, these trips do not explicitly require the players to wander about in character buying things, we had one session recently where the party went and watched a bunch of bards who were “professional” wrestlers put on a show in a gambling house. There were meet & greets and T-Shirt vendors and a noodle bowl lady who showed up with her cart. The noodle lady is a delight for our tiny archer who is actively collecting all the different patterns she offers and keeps an active checklist of what she does and does not have yet.
We spent four hours of time together playing make-believe that we were having a cathartic night out with friends. That is what is needed when things like this happen in our lives and to an extended extent our community. I think that those who acted poorly should be held accountable for their actions, but I am not the one to do that. I’m after all not “The Judge.” I’m “The Storyteller” and Karma will deal out its repercussions as it always does.
So what I’m going to do in the light of all this, is introduce you to a list of rather delightful personalities and accounts in our industry who are adding a bit of positivity and light to this hobby of ours. You may know some of them, you may know all of them, you may know none of them. Regardless of how those chips fall, I present to you a few accounts across platforms that I seek out when things feel grim and I need to be reminded that gaming should and can often be a safe space for all.
Jonaya Kemper – Twitter @VioletRiotGames
Jonaya is an activist, artist, educator, designer, writer, and games scholar who often offers authentic and thought-provoking commentary on current events and known pain points in gaming and its associated community. While I enjoy exploring dungeons, clashing with dragons, and finding all manner of paths, Jonaya reminds us on the regular that there is a wider world of TTRPGs than the tomes we find on the end-caps.
Cate Osborn – Twitter @CatieOsaurus
Cate is a mental health advocate, certified sex educator, TTRPG influencer, and full-time content creator. From TikTok to Twitch and all the platforms between Cate champions open and honest conversation about neurodiversity and accessibility in the gaming communities and constantly reminds us that “Holding space for the passion and excitement for everybody, regardless of the size of their platform.” is important and that “It takes NOTHING away from you to be compassionate and empathetic. Why choose anything else?”
Matthew Mercer – Twitter @matthewmercer
Matthew is a voice actor, mini painter, and probably one of the most well-known Storytellers that has ever lived. Matthew constantly champions telling those around you whom you love that you love them. He delights in tabletop and board games in a way that always feels honest and infectious and he genuinely seems to light up as he spins stories from behind the screen and shares in the sheer love of the game. In a performative medium that can often feel at times overly performative, Matthew’s pure love of weaving a tale radiates his love of the craft and makes my heart smile.
Game Raccoon – Twitter @WhoTweetedThis