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Gaming in the Wild: Hallowed Halls

The word has come down, the final bells are tolling. We stand at the precipice of change, as the windows begin to be sealed and boarded, the furniture draped in dust cloths and the finer relics of our endeavours distributed among their owners. New homes will come for most, but for all? We shall see…

In my mind, I walk the quiet halls of the society, running my hands along the oaken handrails as I ascend to the various floors and offices which people have occupied over the last few years. The smell of musty books, candles and carbon blasts permeate the air, assailing the senses as I recall the countless hours of hard work and love that so many of my compatriots boiled down to the purest essence of love for our hobby.

We are the explorers. We were. We will yet be. Like so many out there in the multiverse we cast our eyes inward and outward; to the heavens we aimed our swords, and brought hell upon our enemies. We fought legion upon legion to bring you our tales, to share with you the fruits of our blood and sweat.

Vagabonds and scoundrels, warriors and wizards, politicos and con men. We are honourable and just, and our hearts are pure.

We are Mad.

I have often reflected over these past years how wonderful it is to be such a beacon to the gaming world. Most of our content has been directed towards role-playing games that is true, but we have endeavoured to enhance your experiences in whatever way we have been able to. However we could share the message of our society we have done. With varying degrees of success.

Print is my preferred method. I am no great writer to be sure, but I believe I have always been sincere in my words, able to compose, to whatever small degree, a variety of coherent articles that I have hoped will be meaningful to some one out there.

I have never held any illusions about my standing here within the walls of the society. I have always imagined my office to be down a little used hall, ignored by most except perhaps the cleaning personnel, whose broom closet is located nearby, where the incessant drip of a neglected faucet might trickle away the hours as background to my words, hammered onto pages scrolled through an old steel typewriter.

While others have been gifted with the genius to offer insight into running games in the far reaches of the galaxy or the depths of the Underdark, I have, for the most part, been the silent watcher, an observer of mankind and its relationship to itself. As a normal everyday man, I have opinions and observations about the world at large which I could not help but share with you, my faithful readers.

And every Thursday I mentally don my society colours of white, orange, and black and leave my secluded office, passing almost unnoticed through the halls of the society but for the nod of the head and tilt of the cap, heading down to the Centre, a meeting place where I greet old friends and new, and we explore strange and dangerous lands together. It isn’t always easy, but that is what makes it worthwhile.

I try and remember the lessons taught by my compatriots, always pushing to make my sessions better and better, to breathe life into the imaginations of my players and members at the Bracebridge Tabletop Gaming Community, with varying degrees of success. And that’s how I like it. A constant struggle, an epic quest for an unattainable perfection, guided along by all of the helping hands who have roamed the halls of the Mad Adventurer’s Society.

I was not the first to walk the halls opened by Brian, Sammy, and Nick. There were those before me, paving the way for myself and those who would come after. Other offices have been occupied and vacated for various reasons. Whether our fellow explorers have moved on to bigger and better things, or life has gripped them in such a way as to deny them active participation. It never mattered, though. We rarely lost our contributors completely. Even if it is only a ghost in the archives, their content lives on, for a while at least.

It may seem maudlin of me to reflect in this way, the passing of the Society, and perhaps you are correct in shaking your head at this attempt at guided nostalgia. I don’t care. My thoughts are wistful this day, and likely will be until the turning of the New Year, when the key will be turned for the last time. I have been walking these halls for longer than most, and while I have not climbed to the heights of some of our amazing members, I have created a home here, in my little office down the hall.

As always, I hope that there are those out there who have found my words, and found them helpful. It’s not easy to get out there and start your own gaming community, and I hope that any advice I have given over the last one hundred and eleven articles has been helpful in propelling your efforts forward, or perhaps avoiding a pitfall you might have otherwise wandered into.

I hope that my thoughts regarding gaming in the wild have helped you reconcile your own passions for the things that you love. Maybe hearing someone echo your thoughts has given you solace that you are not alone, or it has given you the conviction to lift your geek flag and wave it dramatically in the Michael Bay sunset.

I have been encouraged by my wonderful friend and editor to carry on, to open a new office and continue sharing my thoughts. His faith in me is overwhelming, and he has been adamant in explaining to us that our voices are heard, and that we are making a difference out there in getting an adventure on every table, and that has warmed my heart beyond measure.

Down at the end of a dark hall with only the drip of the plumbing and the tuneless humming of the cleaning staff to accompany me, it has not always been easy to cut through the din, to be a small voice among the screaming throngs of the world wide web. Having a leader like Brian has always bound me to our cause.

The honest question is, Can I Do This On My Own? Can I leave these halls and step out from under the protective shield of our society and those who have led us for so long, and be a tiny voice alone?

And as these last few weeks of the year wind to a close, I need your help.

I want to know in some form from each and every one of my readers who have made it this far, if you would be interested in reading my words after the society shuts tight it’s doors. I am on twitter, facebook, and for the time being, here in these halls. I am waiting. I have always been content to post my words into the ether and let those who find them enjoy or not. Just writing can be cathartic and wonderful, whether you are heard or not, yet now is the turning point. I kindly ask for your thoughts, here and elsewhere.

It can be as simple as a sentence saying yes, keep writing. You can tell me why you like to read my articles, or what you would love to see change about my content. You can tell me how I may have helped your game over the last few years, or if I have just given you good words to read, however they are written.

If I know you are out there to help guide me as I guide you, as I have been guided by my adventuring brothers and sisters in arms along this path, then perhaps we can all start a new adventure together.

Somewhere in the Wild.

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