Friday, January 11
Being a Non-Mainstream Game Professional
A “how to freelance/break into the industry” seminar combined with a particular look at issues related to marginalized people looking to get and do work. (Sponsored by “Fuck You, Pay Me” the unofficial motto of the freelance hustle.)
Beyond Inclusion: Creating Diverse Worlds
Talking about going past the notion of “inclusive” settings that are just mainstream + marginal (“Look! This setting has black AND queer people, too, and they’re not hated! Mission accomplished”) into settings and worlds that are centered on different cultures: What about worlds where there are no straight, white people (or where they are the minority)?
More than just pictures: Creating cross-cultural iconography
Icons in games can represent a complex array of ideas and concepts that must be quickly interpreted by the player. However, they are often an afterthought in development. This talk will provide tools and strategies to help developers create meaningful iconography that can be read and understood by a diverse amount of players without sacrificing style.
The Infinite Storytelling Engine of Professional Wrestling
While professional wrestling might be the soap opera for people who just like sweaty men fighting, that doesn’t mean it can’t teach us a thing or two about storytelling! This panel will discuss and break down how wrestling manages to artfully weave both story and character development into even the most hectic brawls and how you can use the same techniques to incorporate this narrative style into your games.
Magical Girl Transformation: Finding Your Femme Fashion Style
Ever wish you had a magical transformation item to help you create a super cute and femme look, complete with makeup and a manicure? Who hasn’t! Sadly we don’t have any magical cats handy to provide transformation brooches, but this panel can help you take the first steps to achieving looks that are feminine, fun, and most importantly, very YOU. We’ll focus on finding resources to inspire you to transform your clothes and beauty routine without breaking your budget or consuming all your time. Everyone, regardless of gender is welcome to come explore and ask (respectful) questions.
Building off of last year’s panel, female and marginalized creators talk about the exhausting, career-hobbling struggle of never feeling good enough, and how to combat that.
GoH Session Liz Courts – Randomly Yours
Fear of the blank page is real! Learn tips and techniques to punch your creative blocks in the face through the use of randomness generators: a deck of cards, dice, websites, we’re gonna try them all (as well as some potential pitfalls that they might create). Failure is always an option, though, and we’re gonna tackle that topic too. Bring your favorite means of generating random numbers with you: this is an interactive panel!
RPGs: Art, Education, or Entertainment?
What is the point of an RPG? To educate or to entertain? Could you even go so far as to class them as “art”? Join us for a panel discussion about how we use and view RPGs of all stripes in the modern gaming era.
Saturday, January 12
Better Realism for Better Worlds: We Did the Research for You.
I don’t want to hear about how arm-chair “realistic” it is to default to miss-recorded Western medieval standards of race, gender, sexuality. This panel dissects the 101 History student’s argument that history was like X. Panelists present AWESOME books/research that shows the place of strong peoples in a world beyond Europe’s Dark Ages. The book 1491 comes immediately to mind (America before Columbus), as does Rejected Princesses. Attendees leave with a reading (arguing) list of 20+ books.
Organizing Queer Gamers
Are you wanting to connect with new queer friends who share your interests? How can you find existing groups, or if your area doesn’t have one, how do you start one? Our team of panelists, organizers of queer groups such as Queer Geek! Seattle, can help!
Working in Games Real Talk
Working in games is fun! I should start a game company! Freelancing is great! All of these CAN be true, but let’s real-world for a moment. Taxes are a thing. Your enthusiasm can/will be turned against you. Many game companies (big and small) pull some REAL sketchy shit because you’ll endure it for your “dream-job.” “Following your Dream” doesn’t need to mean being abused. It might also mean keeping your day job. I’d like people to leave a panel with this not disheartened, but with an arsenal of questions they should know to ask potential employers, a sense of what reasonable rates for work are, and what contract terms are red flags. (A 48-hour-long panel.)
Playing the Other
A discussion about how to play/portray characters who are different from you, as a player, GM, or even a creator. On the one hand, roleplaying is a great opportunity to empathize and experience things vicariously, but on the other, it’s easy to fetishize or stereotype the experience of others. What’s appropriate and how do you make the most effective use of this opportunity?
GoH – Katherine Cross: Using Sociology for Fun and Profit in RPG Writing
When you’re working as a contractor for an established RPG whose setting you didn’t create, how do you write in an original way? How, indeed, can you pry things open to make them more interesting and inclusive? Look for the cracks in your setting, everything unexplained, everything that’s a throwaway line, and dive into the breach looking for latent functions, folkways, symbolic interactions and all sorts of other juicy concepts that will make your work sing.
Acting the Part – Bringing Your RP Character to Life
Learning complicated rules systems and battling recalcitrant dice is one thing, but when it comes to tabletop role playing games, one of the most difficult aspects for both new and experienced players is the actual role playing. Going from a mild mannered, introverted geek, to a smooth talking space pirate or brash, half orc warrior with a love of bad puns can be a stretch. We’ll focus on using basic acting and improv techniques to help you learn to inhabit your characters and bring them to life at the table.
Dungeons, Dragons, and Social Development: How Role-playing Games Help Us Grow
Role-playing games of all kinds have the power to make us better people, even more when we play with intention. Come hear Adam Davis and Adam Johns, founders of Game to Grow, as they share how they role-playing games to help neurodiverse teenagers become more confident, creative, and socially capable. Hear stories from therapeutic game table, learn about how to make your game more accessible and enriching, and celebrate how the games we love can help us grow.
Queerness & Masks
Join moderator Joseph Carriker, and a panel of Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence who are also avid tabletop roleplaying gamers as they discuss the power of personas and masks to help liberate ourselves and explore who we are as we become someone else.
Oops, I Did It Again
Dealing with mistakes, disagreements, and controversy without ruining your life or your career, including how to share a real apology, and protecting yourself from fan harassment.
Catharsis and Fear in story
Catharsis and Fear in story. How storytellers and players reinforce real world imbalance and destructive behavior for marginalized populations.
Something at Work in the Soul: Horror in Tabletop RPGs
Horror is a potent tool to explore the human psyche and investigate one’s sense of self, but its nuance and subtlety can make it hard to translate into games. Veteran RPG designers reveal their methods and philosophies for crafting tabletop horror tales of any subgenre–including gothic horror, post-apocalyptic horror, and body horror. Panelists delve into the essentials of consent, pre-game preparation, and in-game tools and skills to consider incorporating into your games to achieve the most effective and fulfilling horror experience for players as possible.
Sunday, January 13
Sovereignty, ethnicity, and mixed race in storytelling
Race is not sovereignty. Ethnicity isn’t race. And mixed race communities navigate deeper complexities than the already complex power laden spaces of race, ethnicity, and sovereignty. What does this mean for doing nuanced storytelling in games and fiction with an ever growing spotlight on representation?
Licensing for Games
The basics you need to know about Licensing before you get into becoming a licensee to make games using an IP, or before you become a licensor allowing other to use your IP.
GoH Session – Jeremy Crawford in Conversation
Join Jeremy Crawford, lead rules designer of Dungeons & Dragons, for a conversation about LGBT+ content in D&D and other games. There will also be time for your questions about D&D rules, stories, and more!
Charlatanry and Chicanery: Gamemastering on the Fly
Deep wells of research, reams of notes, and mountains of game statistics–these are all good Game Mastering tools, but there’s one skill that can’t be prepared: improvisation. The best GMs can create memorable experiences for players out of nearly any challenge, whether the players’ decisions have entirely derailed their plans or the players just aren’t picking up the hints they’re dropping. In short, being a good GM is about being a consummate BSer. Join the best BSers in the business for tips, tricks, and philosophies, plus answers to your questions about how to handle the most challenging scenarios players might throw your way.
End Game Style: Leveling Up Your Masc Look
Stuck in a rut with the tired geek-bro uniform of shapeless jeans, oversized t-shirts, and boring shoes? Want to present a more sophisticated appearance but still let your geek flag fly? This panel/workshop will focus on masculine presenting clothing for those who want to abandon their boring starting gear and upgrade to something that will make the end bosses of life take notice. We’ll focus on quick and easy tips that won’t break the bank to get you started, and discuss finding your own personal style. Everyone, regardless of gender, is welcome to come explore fun fashion ideas and ask (respectful) questions.