News

Librarians are awesome!

So we are starting games on Saturday 2nd March in Cork City Library!

Some time ago a comedian asked for my help advertising a D&D related show. I was happy to oblige and I asked who set him up with his location. He gave me the name of a librarian. That librarian was an Arts and Culture officer who works for the county libraries. She thought D&D was a great way to get teenagers into a library but the county libraries are too far out of the city. She was however more than willing to advocate on my behalf with the city libraries. This morning I spoke to her counterpart in the city libraries and she gave me a room to play D&D in on Saturday afternoons in Cork City Library on The Grand Parade.

Librarians are awesome!

I need to be Garda Vetted again, not because I am a master criminal, but because each organisation must vet separately. There are good reasons for that and I don’t mind. That process will take a few weeks and so we agreed a start date of Saturday the 2nd of March. The room is occupied on the last Saturday of every month by a book club. But that’s okay, we have it 3 out of every 4 which is great.

So now I just need to set up some sort of booking system.

News

The Stars Are Aligning

So the quest to bring D&D to the young people of Cork (and not just restricted to us old fogies) continues.

  • The Club is registered as an “Organisation of Interest” with the Garda Vetting Bureau. But they say we’re too small!
    So we were put under the wing of the Cork Volunteer Centre (CVC), to help us through the process and very nice people they are too. Even though most of them had never heard of D&D.
  • I have been trained in the ancient art of Vetting Officer.
    Which means I can put people forward to be vetted. So I put myself forward.
  • The result was “Nil”.
    That’s the sum total of my criminal record.
    I am unwanted dead or alive or indeed undead.
    There is no reward for my capture.
    In other words I have passed Garda Vetting.

So now we can legally start to play.

Next we need a location. I have two and a possible third and here they are in order of my preference.

  1. A room in an existing business just outside the centre of the city.
    It’s big enough and the owner is very kindly letting us in for free. We just need to have some public indemnity insurance. I fund raised for that and will put the insurance in place this week. It’s “near” the city centre and is safe enough, but younger teens might need shepherding.
  2. In the Local Friendly Game Store!
    Other Realms are keen to have us and we’d have space for three or four tables.
    It’s more central, but we’d have less control on people wandering in. But I’m not sure if that’s a problem or not. But if we grew beyond that we’d have to move.
  3. One last iron in the fire, a possible city library location.
    This would be great and I’m keeping my fingers crossed. But I lost momentum on this over Christmas.

So I’m leaning towards the “business location” at least to start with and see how it goes from there. I just need to get that finalised with the owner and get the insurance in place.

So what we need is a date!!
It needs to be soon, but I also need a little time to figure out how to register players.
I can’t use meetup.com (it’s over 18’s) and not sure WordPress (which powers this page) is suitable. Facebook might do it but most teens hate it. Anyway this is small potatoes, we’re here to play D&D. I’ll figure something.

The first Cork D&D Meetup session for adults was on Wed 26th Jan 2017.
So Sat 26th Jan 2019 would have been an auspicious date to begin but unfortunately WarpCon is on that weekend, so let’s say Sat 2nd Feb 2019 instead, at 14:00.

News

The “Town Guard” are watching you

I was unsure as to whether we needed to be get Garda Vetting in order to run this club. Particularly to run games with an adult DM with teen players, or a mixture of teen and adult players.

So I emailed the National Vetting Bureau and asked them. They replied with an actual physical letter which contained a form and many definitions, including the following, which I thought may or may not apply.

“Any work or activity which consists of the provision of educational, training, cultural, recreational, leisure, social or physical activities (whether or not for commercial or any other consideration) to children unless the provision of educational, training, cultural, recreational, leisure, social or physical activities is merely incidental to the provision of educational, training, cultural, recreational, leisure, social or physical activities to persons who are not children.”

National Vetting Bureau, Schedule 1, Part 1

I pondered it and reread it and pondered some more. We were definitely providing recreational, leisure and social activities. There is a strong case for saying that we are providing cultural activities, since D&D is certainly weaseling it’s way into the collective subconscious, however that doesn’t really matter right now. What mattered I thought was what exactly from a legal viewpoint does “merely incidental” mean? Does this mean that it would happen regardless of whether there were teens there or not? Well maybe, but to be honest we are setting up the weekend meetings so that teens can play. So from a normal point of view it is not “incidental” that we would be running the weekend games. But it might be incidental in the light of the overall club which runs games regardless of whether there are teens there. In fact teens are excluded from our other games due to the time/location. But in short I was confused. So I rang the National Vetting Bureau, it’s their paragraph after all. They were very pleasant and understanding but they could not advise as to whether or not that paragraph, or any other applied. They are not allowed to advise about relevance, that is up to the organisation.

Somewhere inside me my evil DM hat asked why would an organisation intent on harming children register itself? This all seemed pretty silly to me. Surely an organisation should be obliged to register but I’m only a citizen and parent in this country, what do I know?!

Agghhh. I just want to run D&D and kill people! I mean I just want to engage people in exciting adventures wherein they may or may not meet a bunch of imaginary goblins or some such intent on killing their imaginary characters. Of course I want to do it right and I want any young people involved to be safe and for their parents to know they are safe. Also I want any adults involved to likewise be protected from any spurious accusations. So it sounds like I want Garda vetting, or at least to be on the other side, the safe side, of this minefield. I just don’t want to walk through the minefield to get there.

I needed legal advice. And by lucky coincidence the person helping me to find the weekend location is a lawyer. He said yes, we need to vet the DMs. And given that the lawyer in question is a partner in a senior law firm here in Cork, I think I should follow the advice. So, as they say on all the mediocre US TV shows, “on the advice of counsel” we need to register the club as a “relevant organisation”. It’s a good idea anyway. D&D is a great game with great benefits for young people, but way back in the eighties it was accused of all sorts of strange things and those unfounded and disproved accusations linger in the minds of some. You can read about them here, they may seem funny now, but back in the day they were quite serious.

I have filled in the “Application for registration as a Relevant Organisation with the National Vetting Bureau” form and will post it off today. Once the club is registered, I will then apply to be vetted and all adult DMs who wish to run a game at the weekend location will also need to be vetted. Teens who wish to run teen only games will be fine I presume, as long as there is a vetted adult supervising the overall session. But I’ll check that presumption.

How long will all this take? Here, have some string.

TLDR: All adult DMs who play at the weekend games will have to be Garda vetted.

 

News

Next Phase

The Cork Dungeons & Dragons Meetup has been going and growing for almost two years now. We have many active members, with currently about 50 people playing on Red Wednesday and about 30 playing on Blue Wednesday.

However because of the restrictions on meetup.com and because we have been meeting and playing in a pub in the evenings, we have had to restrict membership to adults only. Well people over 18 that is, whether they have achieved the sensibilities of “adulthood” is questionable in some cases.

We have long been looking for a location where we could include teens on weekend afternoons. This is now beginning to look like it will happen in the next month or so. However meetup.com would not allow teens to use the site and I agree with this. Teens, young adults and even us older adults should always be extremely careful about meeting people in real life that they have met or found on the internet. That should apply here too. We need a set of guidelines for everyone involved and I am working on those. But first we need a website for all this and so here it is.

D&D is a great game for people of all ages. I started in my teens and now my teenagers play. I have regretfully had to reject many teenagers from the group on meetup because of the restrictions and many parents have made inquiries with a similar result.

The benefits of D&D are many fold. It helps not just with basic mental arithmetic but also with developing a understanding of probability. It hones your social skills. Makes you develop plans and adapt them when the enemy doesn’t co-operate. It helps with puzzle solving, sharing, teamwork and taking turns. But most important of all it’s fun and you make friends with the people you play with.

There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.”

– Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (J.K. Rowling)

Mike O’Regan Aug 2018