As a regular in geeky conventions, you might have stumbled upon their corner. Gathered around a table, you count 3 to 4 people, or even more. It's hard to tell sometimes with the steady stream of onlookers. Curious, and the chatter is abuzz. You realize the person calling the shots is weaving a story, and what comes next depends on the roll of the dice. And that's when it hits you, "Ahhhh D&D!"
In this day and age, who has not heard of Dungeons and Dragons in the geek community? You can have zero interest but know something about it (Stranger Things, right?). To many players D&D was their initiation into the world of Tabletop Role-Playing Games (Yes there are more). It's the most enduring tabletop RPG, considering it's been around since 1974 yet still widely played today. Like a rite passed on from generations.
With today's technology, where everything is at the tip of your fingers, the awareness of tabletop subculture could not have flourished any faster. Webseries' such as TableTop, with Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day, comes to mind as one of the forerunners who introduced RPGs to a wider audience.
But like any phenomena, the spark in interest can only go so far. The longevity comes from the community that naturally gravitates toward each other, who keeps it alive and engaging. Such is the case for RPG Cebu.
RPG Cebu, born out of the want to connect with fellow RPG players around the metro. There has got to be more, right? And true enough many have answered the call.
In a casual chat with Stefan Flora, founder of RPG Cebu, he recalls how it all began.
"RPG Cebu started out in 2016 as a group dedicated to running Dungeons and Dragons’ Organized Play Program, which is called Adventurers League," he explained. "It was basically an excuse to bring together different gaming groups so that they leave the confines of their homes and meet with other people who share the same interests."
In true old fashioned, and time tested method of marketing, the group grew through word of mouth. They also held public plays in coffee shops or wherever they hung out. This would draw in the curious.
"It helped a lot that Facebook connected and introduced the group to a whole lot more people, especially RPG veterans who usually played in isolated groups." Stefan continues.
How about for the uninitiated who want to join? To some (myself included) TableTop RPG seems intimidating, and overwhelming. Have you seen the beginner's book guide? I have heard of campaigns lasting for very long. Yet the stories unfolding are so captivating.
So where do I start?
Stefan says it's simple, just join. To learn the game, you play the game.
"Though campaigns are like the end goal for RPGs, we also do games called one shots which are self-contained stories that you can finish in one gaming session," he said.
"The best example of this is through Adventurers League which I invite newbies to join in as it is an excellent place to learn and to meet new people," Stefan added.
RPG Cebu actively held gatherings, and participated in local events and conventions. Cementing their foundation, and place in the community. In December of last year, they took it to the next level and launched their own event, RECCon 2019 (Roll. Explore. Crit. Convention).
The launch of RECCon 2019 was in time with the opening of the second Ayala Mall in Cebu. Talk about new beginnings right?
Along with RPG aficionados, who played to their heart's content, new-mall-explorers were welcomed to watch, and marvelled at merchant's wares and offerings.
Players were encouraged to come in their character's persona and costume. Totally immersive and quite a sight to hold, as they gathered around tables of different games, systems, and stories. Every single table (about 10 tables, seating 6 to 8 players) was filled with characters set on a journey.
The success of RECCon 2019 was encouraging to say the least, and people have asked: "Are there plans to have more of this?" Stefan has this to say, "Yes there are. We’re planning on doing small events, and appearances in other events like Otakufest and of course, RECCon itself which we plan to do yearly."
So that's definitely something to look forward to. If you're from Cebu or plan to visit and want to join a one shot, or meet other parties, you can connect with RPG Cebu on Facebook and join their FB group to interact with members. Also follow RECCon to be up to date with their latest gatherings.
On that note, Stefan and party, true to their origins, still hold public plays:
"We try our best to have public games every Saturday. With IT Park being our new hub, people tend to play at Neutral Grounds or at the different coffee shops at the Garden Bloc."
All photos by Michael Lantin Dizon.