Our inaugural Membership will run from July 2015 through December 2016, a full 18 months (future membership years will run January to December). Over this time we will experiment with the package of benefits that will become a staple of yearly memberships, we will finalize the leadership positions we determine are needed to make our organization work well, and we will hold elections for board members to serve during 2017. And "we" is anyone who is interested in stepping forward to become a more involved participant in this organization and the events we hold. In the 18 months between now and our first elections we call on you to step up and fill the roles that we will formalize with officer positions. What Membership does NOT mean: that your current relationship with the RMS, our GMs, or other players need change at all. What we do now, we will continue to do for members and non-members alike. Our goal is to do more, not less. Become more inclusive, not insular. Make the hobby more affordable, not more expensive. Increase the number of games we run, the number of events we attend and run each year and improve the experience at these events.What this DOES mean:
that we are taking prudent and forward-looking steps to becoming a stable organization that has the ability to meet the amazingly robust demand for gaming opportunities here in the Rocky Mountains. This means retaining the GMs we do have, encouraging them to run more, and recruiting and training up new GMs. We want more quantity and quality. One day we might throw more games and no one will show, but today is not that day. We have yet to actually meet the demand for games and the first means we have to make the demanding players happy is to make our GMs willing and able to meet that demand.Why the change?
The incredible growth in the number games we run and the players interested in playing them has necessitated an increase in the infrastructure required to make all those events happen smoothly and enjoyably. We need to leverage economies of scale and invest some man-and-woman-hours and dollars into administration and planning and facilitation. We run more Savage Worlds games in Denver than anyone runs anywhere in the world, even GenCon, and we do so without any reliable means of income (save pestering you all for donations at odd intervals).Why now?
We're at a tipping point where our growth will outpace our ability to maintain the superb quality of games we run if we remain a loose confederation. The recent turmoil in the convention scene is also a warning call to us that we should have our own infrastructure in place lest we fall victim to the fate of other groups we currently organize around. We want to be proactive and agile, not reactive and scrambling to maintain the status quo in the face of entropy. I've talked with too many GMs and Players who were ready to jump ship on the whole community because it looked like things were headed into more drama and less fun and fewer good gaming opportunities. We don't want that to happen. We want more games, more fun, and a lot less drama. And the only way to grow and handle money with less drama is to organize, make things official and accountable, and increase official participation. What will we do with the funds raised through membership? * Run our own events.
This, more than anything, requires that we have a budget to plan around months in advance. Our Steering Committee came up with a dozen different ideas for fun events and locations we could utilize in the future, like an Indiana Jones LARP at Casa Bonita, a Victorian Christmas horror event at the Molly Brown House or the Brown Palace, game days at the Paramount Theatre or The Broker's Vault/Wine Cellar, Deadlands at The Fort, etc. Even before we get there, we want to throw one-day mini-cons at Game Stores or other venues, bring our Bennie-fit to fruition, and perhaps one day run our own Convention.* Support our GMs.
We've already begun to build a library of resources for our GMs to run more and better games with less direct cost to them. While the vast majority of the product support we receive goes directly to players at our SSN give aways, we will retain some of the most utilitarian pieces to add to this GM library. We will also spend money to increase the offerings we currently have. With membership we can afford to create "on-demand" boxes that contain everything a GM needs to run an adventure for 6-8 players: a module, pregenerated character sheets, maps/terrain, painted miniatures, blast templates, rule books, dice, cards etc. GMs can check these out to run their own games and they will be available on-hand at events for pick-up and overflow games or if a GM flakes and there's another GM who can fill in.
This is also a great tool to entice new GMs to give running games a shot. The only thing they need to bring is their imagination.
We're also planning on utilizing cost savings to allow all of our GMs to send their printing needs to us and we will have the group submit a printing order.
We also want to host "Make and Take" days where GMs and players can meet up and share tools and crafting resources to paint figures, make terrain, and perhaps leverage 3D printing and Laser cutting technologies. When these resources find their way to out gaming tables, we'll have higher production values and more engrossing experiences without over-burdening GMs with the full cost of providing that entertainment.
We also want to bring back the "GM Bootcamp" that used to be a part of our local gaming culture. We all can continue to refine and expand our craft and this is an event where more than just the RMS could benefit from sharing GMing techniques and knowledge.
We also want to recognize our GMs with performance awards.* Support our Players.
Prize support is a big part of what makes Savage Saturday Night a fun event for players. Our tradition of giving away prize support to players is rather unique and worth preserving, but the supply of goods we receive to use and distribute has not grown in proportion to our own growth. We run twice as many SSN events and have twice as many players, but we don't get twice as many goodies to give away. Formalizing our status as an organization will help us negotiate prize support instead of just begging for it, and document how robust our community is to the vendors who supply us with support. It will also allow us to create our own support and secure discounts etc. that will directly benefit players.
Membership also allows players who are highly committed to Savage Worlds and our community to distinguish themselves from the riffraff off the street who wander into our game tables. Group t-shirts build community and recognition of players. All members will get a special Members-Only Bennie that they can use at any SW game they play all year, so all of your characters will be given the LUCK edge for free. Some GMs might even let you share that Bennie with another player in need.
We also want to do group social events like a chartered trip to Dungeons & Drafts, visits to other regional conventions, a Savage Cruise, Ghost Tours of Central City, and a more organized presence at GenCon. These events would not be as much about pooling money from everyone (since we would not expect full participation) but would be greatly helped by collective negotiation of rates and the liability benefits of a formal LLC, etc. which is going to cost up-front money to establish.
We also want to recognize excellence in playing with player performance awards.
We also want to recognize contributions to our community that are not directly about GMing or Playing.* Support our Vendors.
How many kickstarters or new gaming lines would you love to support but you just can't justify the full expense of the best levels? Wouldn't it be great if the RMS could support Pinnacle and other game designers by getting in on their kickstarters and new gaming offerings by pooling our resources and making those goods available to our GMs and Players at RMS events? It takes money to save money, and who wouldn't want to get access to something like a Bones kickstarter without having to commit to the whole shebang?
Vendors are eager to get their product in our hands and if they're unable to give us product for free, they should jump at the chance for their products to make it into our library for greater exposure and use by our community. This will invariably lead to more sales through exposure of good products.
We want to bring discount orders and availability to try out gaming products like Alea Tools, etc. to our community.* Support our Club.
We have extant and recurring costs such as this website and office supplies and variable costs such as advertising and branding with banners and business cards, etc. We also have growing costs to maintain and protect our library of assets. We need to make or purchase storage to protect the miniatures and terrain and books we're making available for use at Conventions, etc. and all this has a cost that is worth paying to prolong the usable life of these assets but which is not being met with our current limited means of raising funds.
* To be able to say YES when you ask "wouldn't it be cool if ... " There are many great ideas out there and we could give more of them a shot when we organize as a club and bring sensible economics to our already impressive talents at running and playing in Savage Worlds games.
That's a WHOLE SAVAGE TON of benefits, right? And just for $20? Are we crazy? Well, maybe, but we have to start somewhere and between membership dues, event fees, and merchandise sales we will begin to have the tools to start building this market of awesomeness. Step up and lead this herd of Savages with us, help us determine what we do and how we do it going forward.
So BECOME A MEMBER TODAY! And we can begin this savage adventure together. Remember, your membership will be good for the remainder of 2015 and ALL of 2016, so you can get those membership Bennies in time for Tacticon if you act now.
Any questions, comments, and such can be directed to our membership discussion thread here: viewtopic.php?f=72&t=530