Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Little Business

Yesterday, I'm in this underground bar downtown, waiting for my publicist to show up, having a beer and talking to the bartender, when this girl comes in.  I say 'girl' but she was really 30 . . . only she was in the emotional place between when somebody's who's 20 something is just beginning to realize they can't be 20 something any more.

She's a friend of the bartender, hasn't seen him for awhile and they get to talking.  They're doing it right in front of me, however, so I just chime in.  He offers her a drink, and she begs off by saying that no, she's quitting her present serving job and looking for a different serving job.  Only it's really obvious she wants a drink, just as it is really obvious that this girl drinks a lot.  So I said that a drink would be good for her, and that this - the bar - was a health spa.  People came to the bar to get healthy.  The bartender really liked that, the girl changed her mind and so we went on chatting while she had a beer.

Now, I've spent many years in places like that, with girls like that, because I used to be a cook and there is a type of person that cooks and a type of person that serves.  Still, I also talk as eloquently as I write.  As we talked, the girl couldn't help swearing, that being her nature, and because she could tell I was a certain kind of person by the way I talked, she apologized for swearing.  Whereupon I told her, "Don't fucking worry about it," and she visibly relaxed.  After that I was careful to throw in a swear word here and there to make her more comfortable.

The bartender asked her if she'd like a shot to help her nerves applying for jobs, and then didn't wait for an answer.  He got a liqueur he liked, a sort of vermouth for which the name escapes me, then poured three shots, one for each of us.  Yeah, that kind of bar.  Turns out the bartender was also the owner.  So, given a shot on the house, by someone I've never met before - this kind of thing happens to me all the time - I threw it back without a word despite the fact that I don't like taking shots.  That's how you get along with people.

Eventually the girl gets around to asking what I do, and because I'm there to talk about my book launch and the fundraiser to support the book launch, I tell her I'm a writer.  She comments on my speech, and says I must read a lot of books.  I tell her yes, I do.  Whereupon she answers, "Wow, you'd do really good in prison."

Now, see, this is why I say the things I say of people.  Because surely there's a whole class of humans who have come to figure - as this girl did - that the real benefit of reading and writing is that it enables one to blow off a lot of time, whereas if you don't read and write, something really boring like prison is much, much worse.  This, clearly, is why I have taken the time to learn things.

In time, the subject of my book emerges and it turns out this girl used to play.  So in prison, obviously, I'd be able to read, write and run D&D as well.  Life is good.

The publicist came along and after a few hours we worked out some details.  The fundraiser is set to go on Thursday, July 3, at a place called Vern's on 8th Ave SW.  We have a Celtic performer, Vanessa Cardui, a planned burlesque show, and various other small events.  I have agreed to play the DM on stage in a performance of the Dead Alewives' Dungeons & Dragons - Satan's Game, which should be relatively fun.  I'm sure there will be video.

I've also agreed to give away my White Box set as the big door prize of the evening.  We are planning other door prizes but they haven't been determined yet.  I could use a word or two letting me know if the White Box set still has any value to the community.  It doesn't have any particular value to me, and we do plan to raise a fair sum of money that night - paying off the performers, the publicist and the airline that will fly me to Toronto.  That's where the money should be going.


Matt said...

The limited edition WOTC reprint of the White Box materials retailed for $150.00 (US). A look on Ebay shows two sets of the original printing of the box going between $280.00 and $399.00.

I think that as far as the online community goes that collection and study of old gaming materials has waned a little.

I think that the white box will definitely have at least some novelty value if there are a lot of current or former players in the bunch. I think it's a good prize.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Woot. Maybe I should just sell it on eBay?

The books inside are in good shape, but the box is beat up a little. I also have a pristine copy of the 1978 3rd edition of Chain Mail. My Blackmoor copy is the 2004 reprint.

Matt said...

I don't know if people would be as interested in buying Chain Mail. It seems to me that most of the RPG community are only interested in Chain Mail academically. Fewer people would be interested in Chain Mail as a game as would be interested to see how those rules eventually evolved into D&D. Most of the community interested in doing that already has.

I think that the White Box would make a much better prize, as I get the feeling that the winner might actual use the rules and run a game as more than a curiosity.

I see prices for Chain Mail on Ebay going between $170.00 and $320.00 (US).

As a caveat of course, I don't know how many people are actually buying the books for this amount. Those books could be listed again and again with no one willing to pay that much.

Now, this might be tacky, and you may not want to do it with your fundraiser, but you might be able to auction those books off at your event. You could even do it without obstructing the events in place by having it be a blind auction. You could have the items displayed and have interested parties write their name and maximum bid, and slip that into a locked box.

Alexis Smolensk said...

We're in negotiations with the local big gaming club to do a big book launch. So an auction would probably be more beneficial there.

Thank you, Matt. That is very helpful information.

lars_alexander said...

Judging by her YouTube videos you've got a pretty fun musician for the event.
Thanks for the link to Vanessa Cardui!

Scarbrow said...

Alexis, I'm going to get ridiculous but bear with this for a moment. I suggest you leverage your considerable online presence (at least on this little corner of the Net) and try to auction Alexis' own and autographed copy of the White Box!. Talking about marketing hype and all that has my mind in strange places, but you may find you have much more influence than you think. Thunt from was VERY surprised when he launched a Kickstarter or something like that and he got like ten times the expected result. Plus, you don't really have to sign it or anything until the auction is over (and works). Just a random, slightly mad idea. Feel free to disregard it.