I thought I would share my insights on the Classic_DM You Tube channel at the 8-month mark and discuss some of the things I’ve learned. Maybe they’ll help you with your ideas!
The Classic_DM channel started on September 23rd, 2018. My goal was to honor the 1st edition of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, celebrating the 40th year since I started playing in 1978. I did not have any miniatures, so I devised my own handmade tokens and a battle glass system so I could leverage my old school freehand architectural drawing style. I decided to make the videos as a creative endeavor. The goal was to share with a new generation of players the incredible magic of 1st edition. Secretly inside, I just wanted to be a kid again and relive those adventures my neighborhood friends and had nostalgia for.
As a Creative Director and designer in the video game industry, I also wanted something different. There are hundreds of people streaming D&D live with webcams, most of these are not all that fun to watch, at least for me. As a game designer and author, I wanted you to feel like you were at the table playing. To do this, I knew I could not rely on anyone else and it would be a one-man show. I wanted narrative and combat flow to feel exciting, to bring the characters to life with personality, meaning, motivations, and flaws. Think of a Netflix Series meets Living Book. Over time, we added a second camera and some minis and incredible audio ambient sound tracks created by Sword Coast Soundscapes. His work is top notch! Use his videos in the background next time you play!
What better way to do that than a top down camera, dig up G1- Steading of the Hill Giant Chief, develop an original cast of player characters and rework the entire backstory. It’s still in The World of Greyhawk, but with a unique story and cultural flair.
I DM the game and make all the moves for the characters and enemies, talking about tactics, show all dice roles, run the viewer through the mechanics, tossing in my house rule interpretations along the way –much to the chagrin of some rules lawyers. It’s cool. Respect to all who play. I was doing this to relive my childhood and evangelize the core magic, not meet another person’s criteria.
The channel is at the 8-month mark and it has gone into some interesting directions. The play sessions are cool and some older players like then, since they don’t really play anymore, have families, and like to sit back and chill to some good old dungeon crawling. I also did a few experimental videos, such as a live map drawing series, a DM’s guide, and a guide to 1st edition. Here is where things seem to jump out.
I made a long series of videos that introduce 1st edition to 5th edition players and it seems to have caught on. Of course, my videos are all in one take, no post processing, no editing, I like to keep it real and feeling live –like someone is actually talking to you as opposed to ramming compressed data down your throat. Most You Tube channels are set up with the heavily edited method and are going for monetization. That’s not me. I’m not doing this for money, so I’m not interested in doing video edits for 4 hours to make a 10-minute video from 2 hours of 10 second clips. I understand that attention spans are short these days. I will eventually set up outlines and clip sections so you can jump to the part you like in the future.
Looking back, I see a lot of things to improve on. I plan on increasing production value, better organization, front end outlines, clickable tab points, and more. I have a new module in the works that takes our heroes from G2 - The Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl to an original location! I can’t wait to get it done and share it with everyone.
Metrics. Have a look. Click to Enlarge.