‘A Shopping Episode’ — A Commentary On Current TTRPG Events

by Anton Kromoff

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

Game Raccoon is an artist and writer in the gaming community who champions LBGTQ+ voices and consistently shares things that send me down rabbit holes that more often than not end with me finding some new and exciting in the tabletop community. Not only are they themselves talented but their constant uplifting of marginalized and unsung voices consistently reminds me that our space, the tabletop community, can and should be a safe space free of gatekeeping.
Sheepgotohello – TilkTok @Sheepgotohello
Sheepgotohello engages in what she describes as mostly “TTRPG nonsense” but her TikToks are just delightful moments of her opening WizKids Icons of the Realms blind boxes in search of specific “fellas” it’s easy to digest content but there is always a spirit of joy and wonder as she digs into the box and explains what she has found. It’s a fun way for those who don’t have access to those particular minis to join in the thrill and excitement of the hunt.
Dungeons & Dragons Daily – Instagram dnd_daily
Dungeons & Dragons Daily is a fun account on Instagram that posts covers and selects internal photos of various TTRPG books from across multiple publishers. While the main focus of the feed is a catalog of historical D&D books there are many offerings displayed from RIFT to White Wolf and beyond. The comments and conversations are full of nostalgia and each day it feels as if a time capsule is being opened and a glimpse of games that brought friends together over the years is given.
Max Dunbar – Twitter @Max_Dunbar
Max is a comic book and concept artist who has worked for a menagerie of brands including D&D, HeroQuest, DC Comics, and Avalon Hill. Max’s work is spellbinding capturing a dazzling display of heroes and villains, Talbaxi and Tieflings, and everything in-between. However, what is even more impressive and heartwarming is how engaged Max is with those who comment and share their work with him. Max seems to respond to almost every comment with a jolly friendliness that on bad days when you feel isolated from the world serve as a reminder that we are all just people on the other side of the screen trying to share our experience with the world.
Now, this is by far not a complete list of forces of positivity as our community is vast and full of many wonderful people. If you have a shootout please let me know as I am always on the lookout for those who elevate and showcase that this whole beautiful hobby of ours can and does work without gatekeeping and narcissism.
Until next time, may we serve those who serve others.

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