Everyone’s favorite Grumpy Uncle returns
I was not at all surprised to see a lavish ad taking up the back page of the HMGS Historicon full color flyer that came out recently, advertising “Uncle Duke Returns to HISTORICON!”. Not at all surprised, because the issue of a stipend for him to return to HMGS conventions had been debated at board meetings I attended in 2005 and the specific issue of “paying off” Duke was voted in at the one meeting that I missed in 2005 (December at some point– not that ANYONE in the membership other than the BoD have seen the minutes from that meeting yet…). The membership (or portions of it) seem to be up in arms somehow about “paying for gamemasters”, especially paying for “Uncle Duke, the Rennaissance man“. Others say “Hey, it’s a visual spectacle, and it attracts gamers, isn’t it worth it?” (I’m summarizing points of view demonstrated on TMP and Yahoogroups, not quoting a specific person).
How do I weigh in? Well, it’s the CD’s call, and it’s Bob Giglio’s convention and his call to make, and I support that. But we had to change the rules to get to this point. I don’t like bankrolling big, special extravaganzas. It creates a general feeling of inequality and an aura of the backroom deal. Right now, HMGS East does a lot for GMs.. letting them in for free is no small potato. When it becomes widely known that ONE GM (or a few GMs) get some form of remuneration, that the rest of us hard working joes start feeling a bit slighted. We don’t want to open that Pandora’s box.
The rules were recently changed so that a convention director can invite a special guest and pay him a “stipend” to appear. Prior to that the BoD’s position on special guests and programs at conventions was unclear. Now, a CD may invite all kinds of guests and promise a stipend as long as the budget is approved and the CD sticks within the limits he sets upon himself.
I’m not against guests. I would like to get Adrian Goldsworthy in for COLD WARS 2007, budget permitting. I would love to promote a prize budget for theme events for the Engineering theme. But here’s my line in the sand: The Guest should fit the Theme. AND the Guest should be something of a draw. I’m not convinced that MORE people come to a HMGS convention because Duke Seifried runs a game at them.
(Deleted out of respect for Bob Giglio and HISTORICON).