ICYMI – I was on @Wizards_dnd to talk about diversity, D&D and more!

dnd-podcast

 

TANYA DEPASS ON CREATING D&D CHARACTERS

Tanya DePass (@cypheroftyr) has played D&D for years and she brings her experience in talking about diversity in gaming to creating D&D characters and her shared love of Dragon Age 2 with Greg Tito. Lore You Should Know – Matt Sernett (@Sernett) and Chris Perkins (@ChrisPerkinsDND) discuss the iconic Tomb of Horrors adventure in Tales from the Yawning Portal. Plus, guest host Bart Carroll joins the podcast to talk about Dragon+.

Here’s a guide to when each segment on the podcast begins:

00:00 – Intro with Greg Tito and Bart Carroll

05:35 – Lore You Should Know – Today’s Topic: Tomb of Horrors

20:37 – Interview with Tanya DePass

01:13:08 – Outro with Greg and Bart

Take a listen!

On the expectation of free labor to diversify your spaces

[Copy/Pasted from an early AM twitter vent this morning 12/21/16]

I’m in a mood, and I’m irritated. I want to talk about value of work, specifically diversity work & people’s expectation of free labor. So I’m lucky, and in a good position where sometimes people come out the gate with what are your rates & fees? This does not always happen though, don’t get excited. Like I said I’m in a good position.

However…there’s the pervasive idea that we should provide our expertise, our skills and knowledge for little or no pay. How about no? A lot of places want to be seen as progressive, diverse and doing the right thing but they don’t want to invest time & resources. Or they think it’s as simple as invite a few brown folks and a queer person, give them top billing one year & we’ve done it! Uh no.

web-analytics-my-1-if-you-built-it-they-will-come

See, we can see right through that bullshit. Especially when your convention committee doesn’t change, your policies don’t change. You can’t put the current hyper visible POC in your field up as your diversity! And expect us to flock to your event. Again, we see you.

Here’s my main gripe though. Reaching out to people to get help but not offering compensation at the same time.

It’s always “Let’s have a coffee, let me buy you lunch and pick your brain…”

This isn’t about greed either. This is about valuing someone enough to “pick their brain” but not enough to pay them.This is doubly true when you expect someone to help with event they may attend but won’t offer some kind of comps or payment.  Helping the community is great, but it doesn’t negate the value of that persons time.

Even asking someone to take the time to chat with you, have an email exchange or Skype call should be considered work.I think it comes down to people not seeing it as “real” work. Also, acting as if someone asking for compensation is wrong? Or insinuating they don’t actually care because they wanna eat?

Nah, we all got bills and if you want my time & expertise? FU Pay Me. Nobody expects teachers to work for free, or other laborers so why us? Because a lot of the work is emotional labor. To unfuck the ways that events and orgs have failed on representation is a lot hard work y’all. So stop asking for free labor under the guise of doing better. Improvement takes effort, time and money. Investment not hollow promises.

When you ask someone on how to do better, ask what their preferred compensation method is. Fucking pay people for their time.

fuckyoupaymeartprintfromgeekcalligraphycom

 Fuck You Pay Me available from Geek Calligraphy, purchase one for your workspace!

Last thing, think real hard on how you react to black Womens, lgbtqia & other folks asking to be paid vs whites.Look at all the extra shit people want from us to prove we’re worth the time, effort & money to support. Look at how angry people get when we dare to say our time & knowledge is valuable. Y’all have seen it, people bring accused of running scams, that we should help for $0.

However, white folks come up with the weirdest shit for a kickstarter or crowd funding that overfunds but we can’t make the minimum.So if I’m bitter? It’s with damn good reason. Tired of being told the work is valuable, needed but when we ask for help? Support is nil. TL;DR, stop asking people for free work. Value our skills enough to offer payment when asking for said work. Exposure kills, it’s not money, not valid currency anywhere.

It’s not the first time I’ve talked about this. It probably won’t be the last either. As long as people continue to undervalue, or assume no value for the hard work that is required to achieve better representation, more diversity and make it stick; we’ll keep having this damn go round and around until people get it.

Other writings I’ve done on this topic & related issues: 

You Wanna Diversify huh? That’s Nice, Pay Us

On paying black women for the work we do and the ways people accuse us of cashing in

Thoughts on diversity, conventions & cost

Emotional Labor, OT edition for POC, LGBTIQIA & others — Fandom edition

Marking a year of…changes.

Today is the 1 year anniversary of getting canned from my day job. At 1 pm this day last year, I was in tears, unsure about everything. I’d not been back one day from GX3, before I got that call to come into a conference room. Where I was given a bullshit reason & let go.  When I say BS, I mean ex-boss tried to reach back 3 years to justify her actions. If I’d been that bad an employee for that long…wouldn’t I have been gone long before that? Even if she thought she had given me so many chances, or whatever lie she told herself to justify what she did.

No one would let someone in my position screw up that long term & still have a job. Also who cans someone 10 days before xmas? But yeah, I was in tears in a cab that I shouldn’t have gotten but I wasn’t thinking clearly. Was too angry & frankly? Hurt.  It also didn’t help that I’d just got back from a trip, didn’t have a lot of extra money & due to timing? My last check was for 6 days. I had to go through a bunch of hoops with unemployment too. It took a month but finally got that going.

No lie, though I was gonna be homeless once unemployment ran out or before. Those two weeks right after we’re pretty bad.Worse than I let on in public that’s for sure. But y’all came through. People who believed in my work helped me out. Always grateful. I looked for work for a while before I realized I could try to do full time. It had become a second job anyway.

So I did the thing, and it’s worked. Somehow, it’s worked. Patreon is covering rent & a couple bills. Been very lucky to have travel paid.It’s been hard and I’ve wanted to quit so many times over the past year. So many. But I’m still here. I’ll stay here too cause I’m ornery and it’s been too much work put in to give up. Long as I can I’ll fight.

Thank you, every single one of you who’ve held me up when I’ve fallen or stumbled. Who’ve been a voice of reason when I was lost. Thanks to those who pushed against me. Can’t grow without a bit of pain or misstepping. Not perfect & I’m doing the best I can. Thanks to anyone who’s invited me to panel with them or accepted an invite from me to join a panel with me. To anyone who’s taken a pitch and published me.

Thanks to all my Patrons, those who’ve sent some much needed funds my way in the clutch. Or bought me a ko-fi. Thanks for a year of support that I would haven’t thought possible before. For tears, laughter & friendships made & lost.

Thank you. Here’s to another year. Thanks y’all, I mean it from my heart 💜💜

On the value of black women’s work

So yesterday I couldn’t sleep and twitterpated all over about the Safetypin box and the reactions to it. Notably that some dude bro who didn’t know anything about the creators (Leslie Mac and Marissa Johnson)

I collated those over on Medium for anyone who wants to peep  that first. On paying black women for the work we do and the ways people accuse us of cashing in

Today, I had more twitterations on the idea that Safetypinbox HAD to be a 501 c 3 charity or people felt uncomfortable with where the money was going. IE These two black women can’t be trusted. Those thoughts and some more to follow because I am fed the entire fuck up with how people want the benefits without realizing the human cost behind it. What follows are my tweets c/p from 12/6/2016.

I keep seeing people throw out that *should* be a 501(c)(3) charity. Because that gives *them* comfort somehow. Let’s talk.

One, if this was charity work then fine. It’s a service however. Says so right on the website.

spb-not-a-charity

Go read it over, then come back.

Two, do any of these people talking about how easy it is to become a 501(c)(3) know anything about the process? At all? Guessing that’s a no. If you have to file the 1023 form, (30 pages long btw)have the $400 or $850 filing fee & get it done quickly? 180 day window for decision.If you qualify for 1023 EZ filing? Still $275 & 180 day decision window. So it’s not easy to start a charity. But that’s not the issue here.

The real issue is two black women have done the same thing white activists are lauded for & y’all mad.

They are putting a dollar value on the free emotional labor that people expect of black women all day, every day. I should just start posting the requests to pick my brain, get a cup of coffee to get a read on something I get re: games diversity. Y’all expect black women especially to do this heavy lifting for the good of the community, for free cause it’s better for all.

Fuck that

It’s unsurprising to see who has some shit to say in the face of black women going fuck you, pay me for my time & knowledge. Like people who go follow black women, expect to be educated & have their ignorance lifted but won’t drop a tip or support their Patreons. Out here treating us like Hazel, like we’re supposed to hold your fucking hand & let you sip from the Chalice of Wokeness for free!

Nah, we all gotta live. Stop devaluing our labor, our knowledge & expecting a handout to rise beyond your ignorance. Google is free y’all. So stop acting like we’re asking for too much when we say pay up for that time you asked us for. We value our work, our expertise. Since you asked for our help? You must value it too. So put your money where your mouth is or be quiet.

I salute you y’all for getting that money

That said, I had the usual rando’s and well, actually’s roll through my TL. Once I was properly up and about, I had a few thoughts on the people who follow me on various sites, say they learn from me etc. Yet, people don’t value work all the same. Even had someone who inferred I was saying pay me to tweet.

I got nothing to say about that except that added 2+2 and got yarn. If anyone following me thinks that’s where I was going, then leave now. Ain’t nobody said pay me to tweet. For those curious I said the following:

So I’m up and I been thinking. Remember when I asked people why they follow me? Realize what the majority of answers were? To recap: Because they learn something, because they get a POV unlike their own. I.E they get value from my tweets.

Or the articles I write and share here, or the collated, nicely bundled and edited twitterpations I put out on Medium. Still with me? I have over 6700 followers (for now, watch I drop some after this tweet). Some are bots that will drop off & don’t count. Let’s be generous and say 1500 are not real accounts that haven’t dropped off. That leaves over 5500 people reading what I have to say daily.

If half those folks dropped a donation or even supported my Patreon at $1 each? I’d be A-OK. But I guess there’s a line for some. Ok. Same for other black women on here & other platforms. People listen but they ghost out when we pass the hat or ask to be compensated. [this is where some people got stuck and probably thought I was saying pay me to tweet. Which I wasn’t but whatever]

I’m mad but I’m also tired, tired of the expectation of free labor from some. Not everyone does this but it happens too often.

Here’s the thing, no one is obligated to do a damn thing. Ain’t nobody gotta follow me, or donate or support me on Patreon. Point was it would be great if the same people who say they learn from what I say, who say they enjoy my work and consider the other things I do off twitter to be important would throw some coins my way.

It’s been almost a year since I lost my day job, just 9 days away from that anniversary so I’m probably noticing this more keenly than usual. But I’m real tired of black women’s work not being valued. For POC/LGBTQIA/Disabled/Neurodivergent folks to have the burden of free emotional labor dropped on them but when they ask for compensation? Then they’re greedy, not helpful, scamming… it goes on and on.

Just tired and full of thoughts that needed to get out. Consider what you are asking when you ask us for that coffee chat, a quick lunch or a few minutes of our time. The cost is usually higher than what you think.

 

 

Asking for a little help to extend my trip after @GXAustralia next year

I’m a Boss of Honor at the second GX Australia taking place in Sydney, 29 & 30 April, 2017! It’s my second time begin a guest of honor at a convention and will be my first time in Australia!

me-gxaus-boh

Donate help me spend some extra time in Sydney

GX Australia is covering my flight and hotel. So I’ve reduced my goal by half.

I’m my own boss, but being in charge of a non-profit means little money to spare aside from operating expenses and my Patreon doesn’t have enough wiggle room to save any extra money for a holiday.

Ideally, I’d love to be able to spend a little extra time there, since who knows when or if I’ll ever be able to get back to Australia!

So I’m just looking to raise $1500 USD which will be for additional nights in the hotel, so I can get a mini-holiday in before returning state-side.

When do I need the funds? Not for a couple of months now.

Thank you for helping out with this once in a lifetime chance.

Hey y’all @GXAustralia 2017 KS needs a bit of love, just 3 days left!

Hey, hey you awesome person reading this post! Psst, come here. Did you know about GX Australia? That it’s returning in 2017 to Sydney? Well it is and the KS could use some love. They’re over the 50% point, but need to reach $60K AUD to roll over!

Full details in this very long post, but the long and short is:

Please donate even if you can’t attend, even a few dollars will help them reach the goal. If you have the means, you can also help someone else attend with the pay it forward option!

GX Australia 2017!

There’s just 3 Days left for the GX Australia Kickstarter to reach it’s goal of $60,000 to make the convention happen in 2017!!

BACK THIS PROJECT!

About this project

Want to spend an incredible weekend hanging out with the friendliest bunch of geeks you’ll ever meet? Are you passionate about video games, or dreamed of making one yourself? Do you like to cosplay? Or are you an avid fan of card or board games?

Well listen up, because we’ve got some great news for you!

GX AUSTRALIA IS RETURNING IN 2017!

After our first hugely successful event in February, 2016, we’re super excited to be able to bring the convention to Sydney again for a second year. At the debut convention, nearly eight hundred attendees trekked out to the Australian Technology Park for two days of geekery and fun. For our second year, we’re making awesome changes and taking on board requests, considerations, and feedback from the first event.

So here it is, GX Australia 2017! Lock in the 29th and 30th of April, 2017, because we’re going on an adventure!

If you didn’t make it out to GX Australia 2016, you missed a fabulous weekend full of tournaments, tabletop gaming, awesome and insightful panels and talks, and even an escape room! But that’s okay, because you’re getting a second chance in April 2017.

Photo courtesy of Jack Huddo.

Photo courtesy of Jack Huddo.

 

Wait, what's a GX thingy?

Wait, what’s a GX thingy?

GX Australia is the country’s most inclusive convention for video gamers, board gamers, tabletop and card gamers, cosplayers, comic book nerds, sci-fi film buffs — everything geeky and nerdy! It’s a weekend long celebration of what brings us all together in the first place. It’s a weekend where Star Trek and Star Wars fans can set aside their differences and make friends, where you’re appreciated and loved no matter what mana colour your Magic: The Gathering deck is, and where you’re accepted for who you are even if you prefer the PS4 to the Xbox One. It’s an event for you — yes you! — if you share in our vision that geekery and video games are for everyone.

Our first event was such a blast, and we’re dedicated to making sure Year Two is even better.

Didn’t come last year? Here’s some highlights of what you missed out on:

http://www.abc.net.au/tv/goodgame/stories/s4425185.htm

https://digitalwindow.co/2016/03/03/gx/

http://playwrite.com.au/gx-australia-and-safe-places-in-gaming/

http://www.sbs.com.au/topics/sexuality/article/2016/03/01/inside-australias-first-queer-gaming-convention

http://www.nerdvana.tv/nerd-gamer/gx-australia/

Image courtesy of Joshua Meadows.

Image courtesy of Joshua Meadows.

 

New venue!

New venue!

GX Australia 2017 will be taking place at the Sydney Showground! This venue is hugely experienced when it comes to video game events, hosting everything from Supanova to the EB Games Expo. We’re thrilled to be adding our name to their impressive roster, and the new venue comes with a tons of improvements over our old location:

  • Accessibility! While the ATP itself was fully accessible, unfortunately Redfern Station was not and this presented a challenge for our attendees with mobility considerations. Fortunately, there are lifts at the Olympic Park station and we’re only a short distance from the train. Further, this time around all of our event spaces are on the ground floor so there’s no fiddling about with lifts once you’re at the venue itself.
  • Bigger, but a better use of space! The ATP was an awesome venue, but given how large the complex was unfortunately we got spread out quite a lot — this gave the convention a very chill and relaxed feel, but you probably are surprised to know how many attendees we had! At the Sydney Showground, our convention space is fully enclosed and self-contained, meaning that it won’t be confusing or difficult to move between panels, or around the expo hall! All facilities and meeting areas  are within a short distance of each other, logically laid out and easy to find.
  • Air conditioning! Need we say more?
  • Lower costs! Because we aren’t holding the event around Mardi Gras this time, and because we’ve been able to secure more competitive pricing for hiring the venue, we’re able to pass savings on to attendees and bring the overall cost of tickets down as a result. While we gave away many tickets last time and remain committed to making GX Australia as accessible as possible, ultimately every ticket purchased ensures that we can run the event at its best and we’re happy that we’re able to bring costs down to make that easier for guests.
  • Streaming AND Recording! This was something we wanted to do last time around and while we were able to stream the Main Panel Room, panels didn’t get recorded. Thanks to Twitch, This time around we’re going to make sure that you can participate by watching panels online as they happen, or later on when convenient to your schedule.
  • Even MOAR diversity! Our biggest objective for Year Two was to make GX more diverse and representative. This is reflected across not only our amazing lineup of kickass Bosses of Honours, but the speakers we’re working with to develop incredible panels. Plus, due to our lower costs, we are able to splurge a bit more on helping people of colour and indigenous speakers to make it out to Sydney for the event.
  • 15+, or all ages with a parent or guardian! Another big commitment towards accessibility and access was to ensure the event could be open to people as young as possible. Like last year, you’re welcome to attend the event if you’re fifteen or older and have proof of age available. If you’re younger, just come with a parent or friend over 18 who will watch out for you!
Photo courtesy of Jack Huddo.

Photo courtesy of Jack Huddo.

 

What will be at GX Australia 2017?

What will be at GX Australia 2017?
  • Incredible guests! You can see our initial guests below, but trust, we have some even more amazing guests yet to announce! One of our favourite things about GX Australia was how accessible guests were, and our feedback from guests was how wonderful you all were. More of that!
  • Amazing panels! Last year we were lucky enough to host some absolutely incredible panels, and we intend to do the same again this year. Check out our schedule from last year to see what kind of awesome content you can expect in 2017! http://www.gxaustralia.com/panel-schedule/
  • Bigger tabletop space! This was hugely requested, and we’ve already started thinking about how we can make our tabletop section bigger, better and more exciting! With scheduled games, a library of games to choose from and brilliant hangout times, we can’t wait!
  • More games and experiences! We’ll have a play section this year with wonderful Australian, queer and diverse games, and plan on having some awesome physical group games to participate in!
  • An awesome show floor! We’re taking all of the incredible feedback from 2016 into account and making the show floor for 2017 more intimate, varied and fun!
  • Exciting VIP events! Based on this year, our VIP events next year will be TOTALLY MATHEMATICAL. We can’t wait to see you there!
What's at the Sydney Showground?

What’s at the Sydney Showground?

This historic venue hosts everything from the Easter Show to big events like Supanova. We’re super excited to be using them for GX, and think you’ll agree that our new location is a huge step up from our first year. We’re booking out space for panels, a return of our “GX Campfire” chillout space, plus rooms for meet & greets, media, and more!

Photo courtesy of Jack Huddo.

Photo courtesy of Jack Huddo.

 

Bosses of Honour!

We’re super excited to make the initial announcements of our incredible Bosses of Honour. These are some of the amazing people we’ll be featuring at GX Australia, and stay tuned since we’ll have more names to announce as our Kickstarter campaign progresses.

Added in Update #8 (Oct 21 2016):

Casey Conway
Casey Conway

 

Adam Koebel
Adam Koebel

Added in Update #5 (Oct 17 2016):

Tanya DePass

 

Felix Kramer

 

Brett Leavy

 

 Kickstarter launch Bosses:

Katherine Cross

Katherine Cross

 

Stephanie "Hex" Bendixsen

Stephanie “Hex” Bendixsen

 

Kim Allom

Kim Allom

 

Jordan Raskopoulos

Jordan Raskopoulos

 

Eve Beauregard

Eve Beauregard

 

Tim Cain

Tim Cain

 

Lucy O'Brien

Lucy O’Brien

 

Rae Johnston

Rae Johnston

 

Ken Wong

Ken Wong

 

Backer rewards!

Backer rewards!

Depending on your pledge, your support for GX Australia 2017 also includes a choice of the awesome games below! We massively appreciate the developers who have donated keys for us to give to our backers, and we hope you enjoy the games as well!

ALL THESE GAMES CAN BE YOURS!

ALL THESE GAMES CAN BE YOURS!
Photo courtesy of Jack Huddo.

Photo courtesy of Jack Huddo.

 

Stretch goals!

Stretch goals!

$60k will allow us to handle the costs involved in hosting the event, hiring furniture, and some other minor costs. If we surpass that, we’ll be able to extend the convention even further. Here’s how!

$65k – HOLY FOOD TRUCKS, BATMAN!

$70k – EXTRA BOSS OF HONOUR!

$75k – GX AUSTRALIA PARTY, with SWEET LIVE MUSIC!

??? – ??? We’ll get here when we do!

Why Sydney again?

Why Sydney again?

We’re eager to make GX Australia as accessible as possible. We’ve run extensive public polls both before the 2016 event even happened as well as after to see what factors encouraged or discouraged attendance, and it became resoundingly clear that most of our audience wants the event to remain in Sydney. We’re hoping that by holding it a little later in the year when the calendar is less full, we’ll be able to ensure people can afford to travel if they aren’t already nearby.

Image courtesy of Joshua Meadows.

Image courtesy of Joshua Meadows.

 

Let's do it!

Let’s do it!

In February 2016, we managed to bring GX to life with a small handful of volunteers, tons of support from the Australian indie scene, and awesome people like you. We want this convention to leave you feeling warm and fuzzy, energised and inspired, but most importantly loved and welcomed.

We can’t do the convention without you, so please spread this campaign far and wide; if you came to the first one, we hope to see you next year. If you didn’t make it before, we hope to meet you as a brand new friend!

Special Shoutouts

We’d like to make a special shoutout to Marcomatic, the creator of our fantastic logo and animated spiel, to Jack Huddo Photography for the brilliant photography from last year, and to Steph Westwood, who donated her time to create our amazing Kickstarter video!

Additionally, we’d like to thank ALL OF YOU for helping us make GX Australia 2016 happen last year. We literally couldn’t have done it without you, and we’re so excited to be able to do it all again for 2017!

Risks and challenges

While GX Australia 2016 took place to great success, we certainly did have some challenges! Our biggest was unexpected expenses and bills with regards to hiring the ATP that hadn’t been communicated to us early on.

To avoid that stress this time around, we’ve clearly and specifically sat down with the Sydney Showground to be as detailed as possible for our expenses and any additional costs. We’re confident that we won’t have unexpected bills sending us scrambling for cash, and our costs for running the convention have come down a lot from the final amount we had to spend just to book the ATP.

Contracts have been signed and the date is locked down. We’ve ensured that our space will feel comfortable if we have the same number of attendees as last time, but of course we’re eagerly hoping to smash that record!

As before, all of our rewards are digital and what physical items we do have are very limited so we aren’t spending funds on shipping or production.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

I’m a guest at @BigBadCon next week!

I’m pretty excited to go to Big Bad Con next week and get back to my tabletop roots y’all. I’m doing three panels, all with people I admire and love to collaborate with.

Friday, October 14th

Real talk on Tabletop toxicity

4-6pm

Tabletop has a toxicity problem and it should be discussed, like adults in an open forum so we can move forward to fixing rather than having the same old is there a problem or not, it’s you not the community BS we see crop up over and over. Join our discussion for an open discussion on what to do. If you think there is no problem in the table top community and think this is the time for 101 discussion? This won’t be for you.

Saturday, October 15th

Destroying The Fake Geek Girl Fallacy

10am – 12pm

Tanya DePass, Donna Prior, and Jessica Price will tear apart the fallacy of the Fake Geek Girl. We’ll spend a bit of time on why this trope is harmful to women and to the gaming community at large. Panelists will be from a variety of backgrounds, experiences and knowledge of geekdom. Find out if it is ever ok to question someone’s geek cred.

Diversity in Gaming Discussion

2-3 pm

A discussion on why diversity in gaming is important and needed. This will be more of a conversation between Special Guest Tanya DePass of I Need Diverse Games alongside Katherine Cross, and participants.

Those attending should understand that this is not going to be a 101 conversation about diversity, i.e. “what is diversity?”. Participants should be there to discuss this topic in good faith with the speaker and other attendees.