To Jon C.
Singing a soft song, sitting on that burlap brown sofa.
Picking at the fabric pills, not bored. Engaged.
Bouncing my knee. Nervous like a cow who knows the calf is coming.
Last night’s sleep in an old blue sleeping bag. Whispers of friendship.
Confessions to the other students at the youth retreat. Little kindnesses. We are not a loud people.
When we sing, we hear each other’s harmonies.
Each voice treasured, like a piece of quiet, a part of the gentle whole.
Applause are honest praise but always brief.
In choir these voices fill the balcony with the pure melody of warmth.
They are not silent. They are full of music,
But they are a quiet people.
Singing clear, soft a capella sitting on the burlap couch,
My closed eyes open, glide across the room.
White shirt crisp and blue-black tie in a half-Windsor,
Our balding, kind-faced teacher adjusts his glasses.
He begins to pray for us. Thirty-five teens,
People of faith from happy homes and sad,
Short and tall, from every high school within twenty miles.
We will not remember the words of his prayer. But
We will remember he prayed. That he was for us,
And his Lord is for us, and grants us peace and quiet.
He brought us music. Gave us time.
He lost sleep for us. Disciplined us with his kind basso voice.
Until we grew to discipline ourselves.
The gifts he gave his choir cannot be counted,
Cannot be measured on the audiometer he brought from work,
To show us the shapes our voices make when we sing.
Those of us sitting on those basement couches,
Listening as he prayed for us–some of us didn’t have two parents at home.
Didn’t have a lot of teachers on our side. But we had at least one teacher.
King David writes he will sing for the Lord,
Because the Lord has dealt bountifully with him.
When parents are missing, when tomorrow’s lunch isn’t in the fridge,
When the regular loneliness of adolescence holds us down,
It’s hard to see the bounty. But we could hear that teacher’s prayers.
I like to think he hoped for us before we could hope for ourselves.
When the Creator is quiet, loneliness bends our backs and sags our shoulders,
But we are a people of quiet strength. We have clear, soft songs to hold us up.
If the Lord chooses to whisper, we will still hear his piece of quiet.
We listen for his bounty, just like we listened to our teacher’s prayers.
After all, the song is not just note after note after note. The song is also the quiet in between.
There is music in a rest.
Although it’s not directly a plug for our Kickstarter, since you might not even see this post until after the fundraiser ends, I want to share some numbers from The Imposters and compare them to Ginger Goat’s previous Kickstarter campaigns. My purpose in sharing this information is to help answer questions that other game designers have about fundraising for their games.
On the one hand, I’m excited the Kickstarter is going well. On the other hand, I want to give you an opportunity to pick my brain by emailing email@example.com about what it’s like to run a Kickstarter or about specific issues that worry you about running your own.
With 22 hours left in the fundraising campaign, we have 370 backers and we’ve raised $6,745. Those numbers will change in the last day, but they are close enough to the final numbers that we can look at them.
How do they compare to our previous four Kickstarters?
We have almost twice the number of backers for this campaign as we do for our previous campaigns. I attribute this to a number of factors, including the quality of our Kickstarter video, the number of game journalists who have written about the game, and the social media influence of my fellow contributors to this book. Because we have a sharp looking Kickstarter page, and because we’ve had better word of mouth advertising for this campaign, we’ve convinced more backers to join us. As you might expect, that means we’ve raised more money, too.
We have raised about twice what we raised in our other campaigns. Though Dangers Untold is an outlier. It raised an unusual amount of money per backer because we had a handful of high level backers who were really committed to unlocking some the extra setting materials. In other words, we had more people willing to pay for high tier backer levels in Dangers Untold. I attribute this to Shoshana Kessock’s committed fanbase. Her fans are big fans.
Now that you’ve seen the basic data, what questions can I answer for you? Have you considered crowdfunding your games, and if so, what can I do to encourage or inform you? Shoot me questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Kickstarter for The Imposters is live! You can back the game here. And here’s the book trailer.
“Delve into a world rife with conspiracy and resistance and leave behind your illusions of safety.” —Jeremy Morgan, Editor
Our next book, The Imposters, is coming to Kickstarter tomorrow. Want to support seven game designers who struggle with Imposter Syndrome? Want to get your hands on seven new or revised larps and tabletop rpgs?
The Imposters is an anthology of seven tabletop and live-action roleplaying games from seven different designers. Some of these games are brand new; some are revised and updated versions of games that have won prestigious indie gaming awards like the ENnies, Golden Cobra, and the 200WordRPG contest. All seven games offer a play experience you’ve never had before.
For example, the anthology contains “They’re Onto Me” by Banana Chan, a game about paranoia and the possibility that your co-workers have been replaced by duplicates. You can watch two run throughs of “They’re Onto Me” on Youtube now.
Here is the short version of a “They’re Onto Me” run by my friend, Norwegian larp designer Ole Peder.
This second run of “They’re Onto Me” is by my friend, Filipino rpg designer Tobie Abad.
You can support get your hands on this game and six more like it by backing The Imposters on Kickstarter tomorrow. Information Day, 4/11. #RUready4theTruth?
The Imposters is getting tantalizingly close to done. We plan to Kickstart it in early April. The Imposters is an anthology of seven conspiracy-themed games by seven different authors, including three #GoldenCobra winners, a Golden Cobra honorable mention, a #200WordRPG winner, and the former Global Coordinator of Game Chef. Despite our apparent successes, all seven designers admit that we struggle with Imposter Syndrome,* the self-perception that we aren’t “real” designers who deserve to hang with the “professionals.”
If you can sympathize with our struggles, or you struggle with Imposter Syndrome yourself, or you have been harrassed and othered by folks in the gaming community, we encourage you to join our conspiracy and check out the next month. We’re proud of what we’ve made together. These games are awesome. They range from an X-Files inspired mystery set at a funeral to a spy vs. spy meetup to a full-on, cryptographic psychogeography larp. If you follow any of us on social media, there’s at least one game in here that you will love.
See you in April.
Josh T. Jordan and his fellow Imposters
*Also spelled Impostor Syndrome. They’re both correct. And I will fight you on that if you need me to.
I came across this poem today in a book of poetry my grandfather gave me. It’s worth sharing.
“Opportunity” by Edward Rowland Sill (1841-1887)
This I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream:–
There spread a cloud of dust along a plain;
And underneath the cloud, or in it, raged
A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords
Shocked upon swords and shields. A prince’s banner
Wavered, then staggered backward, hemmed by foes.
A craven hung along the battle’s edge,
And thought, “Had I a sword of keener steel–
That blue blade that the king’s son bears, — but this
Blunt thing–!” he snapped and flung it from his hand,
And lowering crept away and left the field.
Then came the king’s son, wounded, sore bestead,
And weaponless, and saw the broken sword,
Hilt-buried in the dry and trodden sand,
And ran and snatched it, and with battle shout
Lifted afresh he hewed his enemy down,
And saved a great cause that heroic day.
Welcome back for our fifth episode of Versed. On this episode, Josh reads one of his own poems for a change.
I understand that people can find poetry intimidating or strange, so during each episode, I read a poem and talk about why I like it for a minute or two. That’s it. No pressure. I’m making Versed to make you feel more comfortable reading poetry and to introduce you to passionate, talented poets that I didn’t discover until after college.
If you like the show, you can support Versed on Patreon.
Let’s look behind the door when leaders fail.
What will we find once we have pierced the veil,
And we’ve divined their sins behind their tale?
That they have whined with privileges male,
They kept us blind and hollered “Her email!”
The tyrants grind and hope our hope grows stale.
They act unkind, expecting us to pale.
I have a mind that will not quickly quail
When fetters bind or freedoms fly and fail.
When they were fined and banned and put in jail,
My fathers signed and fought by pen and nail
Till freedom shined where once injustice hailed.
What will we find once we have pierced the veil?
Let’s look behind the door when leaders fail.
Photograph by Alyssa Kibilosky.