Local tabletop RPG veteran Lionel Huntsworth recently shared that he has begun experiencing feelings of insecurity around his fellow players. This reporter met with him in person to learn more.
"I've been playing tabletop RPGs since pretty much the beginning," Lionel says over a cup of coffee. "I mean, I was practically there when it started. I played the original Barrows & Bearowls in the white box. Just about every system, every genre. I've done it. I have Gencon family I've known for over thirty years, you know? Trailfinder still feels like some new upstart. Heck, for that matter, so does Beckon of Cthulhu. I was the guy on my block with the first dice pool game. You know that was Spookbusters from West Start Games, right? Not Galaxy Wars like a lot of people say."
He takes a sip, chuckles bitterly, and considers. "But then, I don't know, it's like this whole thing kind of crept up on me. Everyone I know at the game store seems to be in on it. You can hardly talk about an RPG without it coming up. Every blog post seems to mention it."
His shoulders drop in defeat. "I haven't looked into it yet. I used to be on top of the RPG heap around here, and now I feel like an outsider. At first, it was just a little thing and I thought I could ignore it and just keep playing my games in ignorant bliss and coasting on my rep."
"But it just kept growing. And now it's everywhere. Everyone else is in the know and I'm too embarrassed at this point to ask any questions. I just nod and laugh and say yeah when other people are talking. I skip over parts of blog posts. I'm so ashamed."
He lowers his head and stares into his coffee.
"It's. It's, It's this whole... Kickstarter thing! I don't even know what it is. Is it is a game? Is it a publisher? Does it help you start your moped? Do they even still make mopeds? Is it some newly discovered element on the periodic table exclusive to and required for tabletop RPGs?"
"I-- I, I just don't know. But it's everywhere. The ten-year-old kid at the next gaming table has more gaming clout than I do right now. I heard him talking about how he was going to Kickstart something. I should just pack it in and finish my days playing Sole Wolf gamebooks."
Lionel looks up hopefully and offers a hint of a smile. "I mean, they're actually pretty good, right?"
Sadly, Lionel is not alone in the international tabletop RPG gaming hobby. KIS (Kickstarter Insecurity Syndrome) is a growing trend among tabletop RPG gamers, first identified by Dr. Elena Aerni, a researcher and psychologist at the University of Romania's Gamer Studies Department.
"Our studies have shown an increasing trend among established tabletop RPG gamers to feel insecure in an environment where they should be, if you'll pardon the pun, on top of their game. At first, we weren't sure what we were looking at, but once crowdfunding platforms were factored in it was as clear as the antenna on a rust monster's head."
"KIS is being considered for inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to help in identifying sufferers more rapidly." Dr. Aernie continues. "In the meantime, we've had promising results with tightly controlled exposure therapy in patients, starting with descriptions of how the Kickstarter website works, then showing printouts of RPG crowdfunding campaign screenshots, and then finally showing them the actual Kickstarter website on a device."
If you or anyone you know is suffering from KIS, please call the toll-free KIS-HELP hotline (further support services currently being Kickstarted), or visit the KIS Help website. But for sanity's sake take it slow.
The Fumble is a satire/parody tabletop RPG news column. It's not real. Also, 4 out of 5 players say the darkness SHOULD be a legitimate target, thank you very much.