As part of our deep passion and commitment to making the world a better place, we frequently can be found in conventions and game shops running RPGs for charity. What better use of our m4d sk1l|z with the games but to build up great causes?
For instance, in September 2018, I ran four one-shot Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition campaigns over the course of the weekend. I used some adventures from Dungeons on Demand, plus another that I wrote for the kids. That one never actually got presented because the last table of the weekend hosted eight kids, ages 5 to 15, and with those numbers and that many unchecked squirrels, they only got four rounds into the first encounter before it was time to pack up the convention and go home. Everyone still had a ton of fun, though, so it was definitely worth it.
Plus, we made our $100 goal for the Organization for Autism Awareness!
And, we’ll do it again.
Our list of organizations is short and powerful. If we’re supporting someone, we’ve researched them thoroughly (which is why certain other autism groups who think they can speak for us will not be supported).
What’s the difference between a charity game and a regular campaign?
Our charity games are all one-offs. That means that they’re not Adventure League games, and you can try out new and exciting race-and-class combos that you might not want to invest in an entire campaign, like a half-orc bard or a tiefling cleric of Ao. Every game starts at 3rd level, because 1st level is boring. Let’s get to the good stuff! To make things easy on me, I limit the starting players to only classes and races found in the core Player’s Handbook. Also, the fact that it’s charity means that we’re asking you for money, and we will make sure that you get something awesome for your trouble. The standard list is this:
- For a $5 donation, you get to start your character with a Feat from the standard PHB list. I made every member of my kids-only table take Lucky, and it was worth it.
- For a $10 donation, you get to start the game with a magical item. I’m not talking just a Bag of Holding or a Wand of Sleep. Twice, my L3 magic-users chose the Staff of the Magi – and I let them, because this is just for fun! (For those who haven’t clicked or don’t have context, that item literally defines “over-powered.” (I have a box of double-sleeved magic item cards, makes it super easy on all of us.)
- For a $15 donation, you get both! You start with a feat and you get to choose a magical item! Our druid halfling picked a Broom of Flying and spent the entire campaign riding it around and throwing insane damage on the bad guys.
- For a $20 donation, you get all of the above and you can choose an exotic race or class specialty from Volo’s Guide to Monsters or Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.
Sounds pretty cool, huh? Not nearly as cool as playing it!
This sounds pretty awesome, what do I do to get in on it?
Glad you asked!
We learned a lot from the Lone Star Game Expo, and we’ll strongly encourage people to sign up ahead of time so that we can assign your characters before the event itself. Yes, we have a printer that we bring with us, and it only takes five to ten minutes to get a new character all set up, but multiply that times seven or eight, and we’ll run out of time before the first critical fumble is rolled.
If you want to roll up your own, use this specific statistics array: 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, and 10. Unless you’re pre-donating, it’s PHB characters and classes only.
If you aren’t sure how to do all that, just send me a message and I’ll get that all sorted for you. I have a character generator that plugs in all your numbers automatically so you’re certain to get exactly the right numbers every time. In fact, now that I’m thinking about it, send me your character for pre-perusal, and I’ll check the math, too.
Next, of course, is knowing where we’ll be next! You can subscribe here, and like us on Facebook. These are definitely the best ways to get through. Before we hit the big conventions like Furry Fiesta, we’ll probably be popping up in various gaming stores around the DFW area (or other places, by request).
What charities do you actually support?
You know that we’ve got a lot of kids and a lot of loved ones with special needs. Without going into too much detail, here’s our list of candidate charities right now:
- Organization for Autism Research (OAR)
- Lennox-Gastaut Foundation – a particularly pernicious and devastating form of epilepsy
- CURE – Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy
- Cerebral Palsy Foundation
- Hydrocephalus Association
- CHADD – Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder
- AFSA – American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association, funding research
I think this is great, how do I get you to host a game at my function?
Timing is everything, and barring a conflict with a convention we’re already booked for, just ask. If we can swing it, we’ll be in touch quickly to set up the specifics. You can ask us to host a game for your shindig just to host a game (it’ll be for a charity of our choosing), or you can ask us to do it in support of your charity of choice. Let us know what that charity is, though, because we have standards.
Note that if you’re looking for us to host a game for you outside of the DFW area, you will be responsible for travel, lodging, and a per diem. We run these things for charity, after all, and unless you’re also looking for us to set up a table to sell our other stuff at a well-heeled event, it’ll be a little hard to justify a road trip.
Likewise, if you want us to host a game and not make it a charity function, for whatever reason, there might be a cost associated. It won’t be extravagant, but let us know what your thoughts are and we’ll work something out.
So, that’s it!
We nerd hard, and we like to help people while we’re doing it. Just for the record, I’m going to leave you with the Table Rules:
My Table Rules (which are more like guidelines, really):
- RESPECT EVERYONE, NO MATTER WHAT. If someone is being a problem, they will be dealt with forthwith, but on the whole, everyone is welcome. Some games might even be specifically femme-friendly, femme-only, switch-gendered, kids-only, and you’ll be expected to handle that well.
- My Word Is Law. I’m not a rules lawyer, as such. My decision as the GM supersedes any other documentation. I do not abuse this privilege. For you as a player, it means that if you want to do something but the book doesn’t necessarily allow it, make me a good argument and I might just let it pass. This is for fun, after all.
- Milestones, not Experience Points. It’s really is all about the story. Your advancement is not based on experience points but rather milestones. That also means that if you don’t take part in the story properly and honestly, your cohorts may level up while you do not. (I’ve never seen it happen, but it’s stated, at least.) Most of our charity events do not include leveling up, it’s true, but I don’t want you getting the idea that it’s all about the XP.
- No Evil Characters. 5e does not lean heavily on alignments, but from a character perspective, please do not play an evil or blatantly chaotic character. There are specific campaigns where this is the bend, but a blended good-evil party almost always ruins the fun for everyone.
- No murder-hobo-ing. Since there isn’t any XP, there shouldn’t be a problem with this. Many of the encounters that you’ll come across cannot be solved with violence, and may even be made worse.
- Card-Based Initiative. One of my favorite in-house mechanics is that we don’t roll for initiative. As you’re planning your character, keep that in mind. Instead, we use a deck of cards that designate the players, monsters, and NPCs, and action is determined by shuffling the deck. This saves cumulative hours on trying to figure out who goes first.
- Have I Got A Character For You! I have some at-level characters already rolled up for you to choose from. I won’t always have everything, but I’ll have a few fun ones that you can try out. If you have a character, I need to have a look at it before playing.
- No Meta-Gaming. Play your character as much as you can. Meta-gaming kinda sucks the joy of out of it for the other players, you know?
- Stay In Character, Except When. Okay, but sometimes the player who has a half-orc barbarian with an intelligence of 8 has a great idea. Hold your fist over your head, LARP-style, to indicate an out-of-character exchange.
- Respect Your Character. No, you don’t have to dress up or talk in funny voices or actively narrate your character, but your choices should revolve around the powers and the limitations of the race and class you’re playing. That’s where your creativity comes in.
See you in the funny papers!