Community Storytelling: Beyond the Table and onto the Digital Green

Abstract (in English): 

Tabletop Role-Playing Games (ttrpgs) are games of communal storytelling. These gameworlds exist in the minds of players who collectively populate them with people, events, and histories. Traditionally played in-person, groups found themselves hard hit when social-distancing rules came into effect. While some went on hiatus, others took to the web to continue their sagas. For some, this was an uphill battle of new technology and social norms. For others, the move was trivial as ttrpgs in fact existed online even before the pandemic.

For this panel, we take for granted that playing ttrpgs is an act of oral literary production. We talk about the ways this storytelling – once done cooperatively but semi-privately – has grown beyond the table through various internet platforms to include a much larger production base. We will also cover the ways platforms have enhanced the building aspects of ttrpgs – the building of community, worlds, and narratives. Our panelists are as follows.

We often hide the learning process, not wanting anyone to see our vulnerability. In an attempt at normalizing learning and imperfection, Krista-Lee Malone decided to live-stream her process of learning to be a dungeon master (DM) on Additionally, she hoped that by live-streaming this she would be able to tap into the shared knowledge and experience of her audience. Although she has been a player for over 20 years, she had never before been a DM. She began live-streaming her preparation in January with many questions.

Casey James O’Ceallaigh was live-streaming as a DM on before the pandemic. At that time the players used a campus lab to play and stream. When the pandemic shut down campus, the group was forced to negotiate not only how to continue the game, but also how to continue sharing the lab channel. Previously, all streaming was done at the lab which was set up specifically for this purpose. Suddenly, the group had to set-up across multiple computers and locations. Casey will be discussing these negotiations and the struggles of DMing virtually while streaming.

Edword Flabberjackson is the personality behind and founder of the GCGG (Good Community, Good Games) stream team. Noticing the hard time some were having with the current state of the world and guided by the truth that we are the stories we tell ourselves, Edword decided to change those stories through a ttrpg stream. By having the players play both characters and themselves, he hoped to slowly get the players to start changing the stories they tell about themselves and therefore change how they feel. He will be talking about how those stories progressed.

Andrew C. Fudge runs a ttrpg dedicated Discord server for the LGBTQ+ community. He is also preparing a Twitch stream dedicated to diversity in D&D. He will be discussing the process of content-making and building spaces dedicated to marginalized identities and how these spaces often become places for players’ first “coming out” moments, an integral step for LGBTQ+ people.

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Record posted by: 
Milosz Waskiewicz