September 13, 2006
The "Cool" Kids
Yes, this is a rant. It is a semi-serious and semi tongue-in-cheek rant; one that has been in the making for about a year or so.
I am blessed with a number of very smart and very interesting friends. Most of them were not part of the "IN" crowd in high school or college. Most of them have outsiders for most of their lives and most of them have come together as friends based on mutual hobbies, mutual admiration and mutual understanding of each other's weirdness.
None of us would win a beauty pageant but give any of us a challenge; a problem; or a geeky joke and we'd get it or solve it. We are the type of people who see a problem and actually do something about it. We are hobbyists who love what we do and want to make it better for everyone else.
I'm talking about two separate groups of friends who game with each other at conventions: Good Omens and the GM Consortium.
Good Omens was created in late 2000 after a disastrously bad Conquest convention. "I could do better than that." It was the statement from which Good Omens was born. Good Omens is club for roleplaying game GMs. Specifically we’re a collection of gamemasters with a passion for running a variety of games at conventions. Our focus is on putting together con games that are as memorable as they are fun. We want our players to fondly remember a game years after they’ve played in it. Think of a non-D20, non-D&D type game and we've probably run it or something akin to it at a Bay Area convention since 2000. Personally, I like to run 7th Sea or something in the "Big Trouble in Little China" universe.
The GM Consortium was created by a separate group of my friends who like to LARP after a disastrously scheduled LARP schedule DDC in 2004. All of the GMs we know who run under different names (Dreams of Deirdre, Just Joe, Team Volare, Endless Adventures, etc...) got together to discuss what went wrong and what could be done better in the future. Then, the GM Consortium reps contacted the LARP coordinator for the next convention and had a good chat with them about the scheduling and rooms for LARPs - what was necessary and what would be appreciated.
The members of Good Omens saw a problem with a lack of variety and poorly run RPG games, so they organized and decided to make it better for everyone in at the Bay Area conventions.
The members of the GM Consortium saw a problem with the schedule timing and room sizes for LARPs, so they organized and offered assistance to the LARP coordinators at the Bay Area conventions.
We see a problem. We do something about it. We did do something about it. Both groups of friends. We are the same people who will not win beauty pageants and never were 'royalty' in high school or collage.
However, now both groups have done something about a problem they saw, both groups are suffering from a new problem: Success and thus they are both adored and reviled.
On the bad side of things, because we organized and we've followed up on what we set out to do, we have been accused of being prima-donnas, of being elitist, of "stealing" players from other games, trying to shut other groups/people out and have endured other generally malicious attacks on our motivations, morals, attitudes and hygiene.
On the good side of things, because we saw a problem and have worked to fix it, we have a fan base - people who specifically look for our troupes (LARP or RPG) to play in because they know from experience that we have spent the time and effort to make what we produce a good game. In a way, it is gratifying. It really is because all work very hard to make our games enjoyable for everyone.
However, there is a dark side to this good thing. We have become "The Cool Kids" on the block and everyone wants a piece of us - even if they are talking crap about us behind our backs while smiling to our faces and drinking our drinks. They want in our parties. They want to know our secrets. They want to be part of the group without doing the work that we do in the group. They want to say "I'm part of Good Omens" or "I'm part of the GM Consortium." They want to have the power they think we have.
Now that we've done all the work to fix a problem we saw, they want to be us. If they can't have that then, by God, they want all the attention they can get from us.
Frankly, I'm tired of competing with someone I don't know for my friends' attention and for these people I don't know to treat me like crap until they realize I'm part of one of these groups. These people are my FRIENDS - before there was a Good Omens or GM Consortium. They will continue to be my friends whether or not Good Omens or the GM Consortium exists. I come to conventions to see them and to hang out with them and not to be treated/ignored like the drummer's stupid girlfriend until someone realizes that I'm actually part of the band they revere so much.
Sometimes it is amusing to have someone come up and bad mouth one or the other of those groups to me and to watch their faces when I thank them for their feedback and let them know I will pass it on. Then it is all about backpedaling and telling me they're joking. Or, if it a less fun fellow for them to sulk and mutter at me like I insulted them. Most of the time, it's just annoying.
Part of me likes being a "cool" kid. But, more often than not, I prove to myself over and over that I'm just not cut out for it. I don't suffer fools gladly. I don't like to play nice with idiots. Most of all, I don't like to share my friends with either of the aforementioned offenders. Yet, I must if I want these groups to succeed. I have to not tell the petty, jealous people that they are being petty and jealous when they are. I'm getting better at the smiling and nodding bits but that doesn't mean I have to like it.
Tarot Card for the Day: The Chariot