YouTube, Patreon, And The Future Of Ed The Bard
Some of you may have noticed that lately I have been updating a number of things, hitting a bunch of milestones, and am now involved in a number of different projects. It has been a busy few weeks in the world of Ed The Bard, and frankly, it has been slightly exhausting, give or take a slightly.
So, I figured I would take a break from the usual grind to update you folks on just exactly what I am up to and what is coming down the pipeline in the future. There us a lot to cover, or at least if feels like a lot, so I will dive on in.
quasi-blood feud with fellow blogger and Game Master, The Game Mechanic, and our feelings about flavor in Tabletop RPGs. That seemed to grab a few folks attention, and The Game Mechanic and I were approached by the RPG Brigade about hosting a live Brigade Panel, a civil discussion/debate about the importance of "Flavor" in RPGs, how much is too much, and the implications of including it. It should be a hoot and may or may not end in gladiatorial combat to the death. You'll be able to find it on my YouTube channel this Saturday, June 4th, 2016 at 6:00pm EDT.
Oh yeah, that is another thing. I have a YouTube channel now.
It is sudden, but something I have been planning since the very beginning. We live in a sort of renaissance period for tabletop gaming. It has stepped out of the basements and found its niche in the mainstream of geek culture. New gamers are being converted every minute, and they are dipping their toes in the water of dice chucking by observing games. This used to be a difficult endeavor, often involving finding someone who already gamed to convince their group to allow an outsider to sit awkwardly in the corner as they attempted to not get self-conscious about pretending to be a wood elf.
These days observing a game is as simple as doing a YouTube search, or browsing Twitch. Gamers are live streaming and recording their games at an exponential rate, and with series like Critical Role and The Provokers, games have never looked so fun, or so cool. Visionary storytellers are paving the way for an entire new generation of role-players by giving them a glimpse into what they're missing, and what they could have.
I love our collective hobby. It's fun, therapeutic, and makes better people. I want to give every potential gamer I can a reason to want to play. I want to give every would-be Game Master who ever considered taking a chance and getting behind the screen the encouragement and resources to run a helluva game. To an extent, I have done this, albeit on a small scale. YouTube offers a chance to reach a larger audience. It is easily accessible, requires a minimal amount of attention, and can be left running in the background as you do other things... like compose articles... about making YouTube channels.
As for what the channel will entail, it will pretty much a lot like this blog. Videos offering advice to aspiring Game Masters and players, little side bits like my Racial Bias series, and recorded games I've played or run in hangouts-style sessions. Though, this may raise the question...
What will become of the Ed The Bard blog?
Fear not, my friends. I have no plans of stopping this blog or slowing the rate of articles any time in the near future (barring horrific injury and/or death). I will still be offering advice in a written form for those of us who haven't given up the great pursuit of reading. Not only that, I plan on stretching out my oily, black tendrils into other facets of the genre like product reviews, developer interviews, and more.
The blog also serves as the perfect soapbox to bring attention to personal projects, like the three supplements I am currently developing (two adventures and a splatbook), one of which may or may not be offered for free, right here on Free RPG day (fingers crossed).
My readers are some of the most intelligent, savvy, and constructive people in the RPG community, and it is because of you that I keep pumping out three articles a week. I am exquisitely lucky to have you guys in my corner, and I thank each and every one of you. Trust me when I say that there is so much more on the way for you, my friends.
The only unfortunate side effect of all this is that I am but one, lowly bard. This whole dog and pony show is a one-man operation, and as such, it can get a little overwhelming sometimes, especially in these areas of growth. There is bound to be some growing pains, but the end result is often worth the aches.
The road can be a pricey one, especially now that I am venturing into a more audio/visual area where I can break out my old school video editing techniques. Thankfully, there is a great deal of resources that are free for those just starting up their own YouTube channels or podcasts, but there is still a level of investment if you want to produce a good product, and my peeps deserve the best.
The other hard part to contend with is the time commitment. Some of you might not know this about me, but I'm a dad. I have a wee, six-year-old geekling that genuinely seems to like me (the conditioning was a success). He is a very active kid and takes up a good deal of my attention from the moment he gets home from school until he crashes around bedtime. I like my kiddo, and I enjoy seeing him, so my passion projects are often planned with military precision around his coming and goings. That leaves me a limited amount of time to pump out three articles a week and keep the lights on.
On top of my writing duties, I am also playtesting a couple of new games (very hush, hush), developing my own projects (as listed above), working on putting together some collaborations, starting that fun little YouTube channel, and working on getting together a few live games for your viewing pleasure. Each thing takes time, some more than others, and If I am focused on just one at any given time, the others suffer for it. Like I said, I am but one man in this operation, and while I have found I am pretty good with time management and multitasking, there are only 24 hours in the day, and I have not yet shed this fleshy vessel and ascended to a higher form that can function without at least a couple hours of sleep.
So, after wracking my brain I noticed that some fellow bloggers and YouTubers had found a degree of success with Patreon. Now, one thing you must know about me is that I am a proud sonova bitch. If I had a sin, it would be Pride... and gluttony... and sloth... and lust and envy and you get the picture. In my own weird and twisted beliefs, Patreon felt like a sort of hand out. Like I had become a panhandler with a "Will work for food" sign.
"Or, you know... that."
But the more I thought about it, the more it started to make sense. By creating a Patreon page, I am not asking you guys for free money; I am asking you guys to effectivly become my boss. In olden times, we bards often work on the road, traveling from tavern to tavern, playing for little more than a warm bed and a cold meal. Every bard eventually came to the point where they tired of this lifestyle and sought out a patron to help fund our endevors. To those patrons the bards would swear absolute fealty. No one else could buy the bard, sway the bard, or influence the bard.
They belonged to the patron.
In a way, that is sort of what I am doing with my Patreon page. I want those who feel I am worthy enough to patronized (the good definition, not the bad one) to have a say in how their investment opperates. Patrons would be consulted on suggestions for new blogs, new topics, and new games. They would tell me the kind of content they want to see more of, and what content they would like to see a little less of. There would be an open line of communication between patrons and myself, so they knew and understood that their input is not just important, it is paramount. Patrons would be recognized for their contributions with accolades and a few special extras (wink, wink).
What does that mean for those who don't want to become a patron?
Nadda. I will still produce the same level of content for everyone. My goal has been, and always will be to give aspiring players and Game Masters a resource to help them develop their own games and characters and otherwise improve their overall experiance at the table. That won't end anytime soon. You have my word as a bard.
So there you have it. The things I am doing, the things I am about, and why this year has simply exploaded (in a good way). I started this blog a mere 6 months ago at the time of writing this article, and in that time I have recieved a flood of posative feedback from all of you that more than outweighs a few negative nellies out there. You guys are one of the biggest reasons I do this, and the biggest reason I want to expand it.
I might stumble.
I might fall.
But if you keep dancing to the tune, I'll keep strumming this lute.
Roll well, me friends,
+Ed The Bard
Would you like to support the bard in another way, and still get some pretty cool stuff out of it? Kick in the door to the Open Gaming Store. They have a mountain of affordable aids to help you be all the player or Game Master you can be. Just tell them Ed The Bard sent you.
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