The following article is a cut, enriched and twisted excerpt of a piece that I have already written within a well-known D&D forum, Dragon's Lair. Lately I have moved away from the Diendeschi spaces, mainly for a question of creativity that was going to clash with the rigidity of the system (also in 5.0). D&D no longer represents me, despite cyclically going through the subreddits regarding this gigantic game and just as cyclically seeing the same problems emerge for years now. Today we talk about the Paid Narrator.
So take the following article as a comment, strictly personal and somewhat cleansed of prejudice, and not as a universal law. The imperative of the article is to be talked about, to discuss in a civil way and to move ideas. Far be it from me to think that I have the right way to play something in my hands. That said, let's get started.
A recurring problem
Today I want to talk about a theme that has raged in multiple waves in the forums and in the RPG society and, exactly like a horde of orcs for Middle-earth, creating havoc and destruction. One of those issues so difficult to deal with that edition wars seem like a trifle. I'm talking about the Paid Narrator.
A topic discussed on multiple terms by many due to its impact on the finances of those who decide to stick, perhaps stained by the very Italian dogma of making accounts in the pocket of others. At least, so it seemed to me, and I deeply think it is, in the minds of many. The fact that someone gets paid to do something that someone else does absolutely for free gives a lot of trouble to those interested in the hobby. THU they talk about it, albeit in English, but if you search you will find a hundred articles dealing with the subject.
Where did the idea of getting paid to narrate come from?
The idea of getting paid for a session was born (I think) mainly from the lack of free time. As I explain in the comments of the article, the amount of free time (in most people's lives, of course) begins to dwindle as they start work, family, children, or simply advance with age. It is normal for this to happen and, although there are borderline cases that manage to pursue their hobby weekly, most see the sessions at the table thin out, more or less voluntarily.
In his free time more and more lacking (I repeat, according to many) the skills of Narrating in a system that makes preparation its cornerstone become rare. Of course, you can still improvise, but let's say that some things risk ending badly, see great challenges and treasures. Hence the idea of getting paid to procure / procure fun, and this is how the paid narrator was born. Maybe in other cases it starts with mythomania, or with the simple need to have that extra money. The fact is that the Narrator begins to ask for a sum to "use his free time".
Is capitalizing free time right?
In my own experience, I've always found it quite natural to be a storyteller. I am what we call in technical jargon forever-dm, a person who has always (or almost) narrated. I narrated in my groups because “I knew the rules better”, I narrated outside because “I had been playing for so many years”, I narrated at events because “I need someone who can handle this”. In hindsight, I would have sent half of these motivations to cow, but at the time I was very attached to D&D and the role of storyteller.
I do not want to talk about the parishioners that the role play creates around these individuals, sometimes treated as an Egyptian deity by the faithful, nor about how these parishioners are allergic to any form of criticism towards their narrator and completely linked to a certain type of game regardless of whether it is functional or not for everyone's enjoyment.On some parishes, perhaps, it is better to gloss over completely
I admit the idea of capitalizing on my free time era succulent: receiving offers, money, for something that “it was easy for me to do / I was forced to do” made me greedy. But, over time, I realized that it was not my way, on the contrary. I'm not here to be a Samaritan about the situation, to ask in a loud voice "you live in poverty". Simply I stopped finding it right to capitalize on my free time too. Insane? Probably. Socialist? Most likely.
Is the idea that everyone should get paid right?
To date, I still have no absolute answer. I consider the very humble as enlightened The Stroy, who in the comments talks about reimbursement of expenses, has centered my line of thinking. As long as we offer each other pizza, we can talk about free time, but since you pay me to narrate, perhaps the climate is destroyed, and it is right to think if you are not taking each other too seriously. At the time, however, I thought very differently, and to the question "why get paid?" I answered with:
Simply because free time costs. Everything has a cost; you pay both the subscription to the decoder and the electricity to watch television. The gym you go to to get rid of that extra pound as much as the personal trainer who tells you where you are wrong. Even the video game you stay on in the evening until the wee hours. Why not pay a person who studies, prepares and creates adventures to play together? If this person creates quality sessions, why not reward them?At the time, I was absolutely sure that there was a definition of quality play
Which, to date, seems to me a very cynical, if not limiting, answer. Maybe there is someone who thinks it's right that everyone pays for the services received, but I don't think D&D is a performance. This is an evening with friends, and that's how I like to see it. Rather, it still makes sense to me that some companies are reluctant to reward collaborators, translators or editors. But this is certainly another story, which we will talk about at other times.