Are you planning on attending Origins this summer? What should you do while there? Enjoy the world’s greatest roleplaying game that started it all, of course. The Herald’s Guild is going to Origins this summer to help run D&D games as part of our fundraising efforts. We will be helping Baldman Games with our awesome DMs to make D&D at the show as great as we can–not only spreading the love of our hobby to a new generation, but running seminars on DM training and empowerment, and earning funds to continue to support our mission statement and other Herald’s Guild activities.
Origins 2017 DM Sign-up
Welcome! Thanks in advance for your interest in volunteering at Origins 2017 for the Herald’s Guild. Without DMs and helpers like you, shows like this would not exist. I’ve always said that even when you’re DMing you’re gaming, and that is never a bad way to spend the day. We’ve worked with Baldman Games to drum up some of the best benefits we can to entice you to swap over to the dark side of the DM’s screen.
We use a lot of jargon that a lot of us take for granted. This year I am going to try to take a step back and come at this from the point of view of a person completely new to volunteering. If you find anything here confusing at all, please do not hesitate to contact us through the Forums or Website contact form, and I will clear it up quickly.
Volunteering is a great way to give back to your hobby, and we have some really great rewards that make helping out even easier – and it’s a great way to attend the show and save some serious $$. You can earn a free badge to the show, a free spot in one of our hotel rooms next to the convention center (a huge perk this year), and cool show swag on top of that (free books, show promos, etc.) It is also a great way to make new friends and immerse yourself in the show community, more than a casual attendee ever could. The Herald’s Guild organizes events on the Wednesday before the show to help build camaraderie and let everyone ask questions before the show starts. Our judge retention rate is extremely high, so fair warning: Once you work for us, you’ll probably come back and do it again next year.
Now for some show terminology:
- Badge Level: If you volunteer at Badge Level, you’ve worked enough to earn a free badge to the show. This badge is paid for by the Baldman Games staff. You need to have created an account in the Origins registration system before registering with us. We will then provide you a code that will allow you to purchase a GM’s Badge in the system for free.
- Room Level: If you volunteer at Room Level, you’ve worked enough to earn a spot in one of our hotel rooms. These rooms are for four nights (Wed Night to Sat night), and we have four people in a room. We cannot reimburse you for a room you’ve booked on your own or let you choose what hotel you are in. We do our best, though, to put you in a room with the roommates you prefer whenever possible. So if you are unsure about staying with strangers your first time, then get a couple buddies to volunteer with you, and we’ll put all of you in a room together. We all win!!
- Slot: This one confuses a lot of people and is a very old term from the RPGA days. A slot is the same as saying a shift. In the case of Origins 2017, a slot is four hours long. Every event and day is put together using slots so events line up nicely, start and end at the same time in relation to each other, and help you put together a schedule that fits your needs. The slots are numbered so the first slot on Wednesday at 6PM is called Slot One. The last slot that runs from 9am to 1pm on Sunday is Slot 11.
- Slot Zero: So if the first slot is called Slot One then what the heck is Slot Zero? Slot Zero is any game that runs before the show itself, allowing our volunteer DMs to see a game they will be running from the player’s perspective. Usually these are done so DMs can prepare to run a better game. Seeing things from a player’s perspective then preparing it is a huge help for some. Sometimes these are also special DM-only events done as rewards for them helping out. Regardless of whether you get to play an event before the show or not, you are always expected to be prepared when the show starts and it is game time.
- Judges: “Judge” is just a fancy word for “DM.” It is a remnant from a bygone era, but we are so used to saying it that sometimes it slips through. If we say “judge,” we mean “DM or other type of volunteer.”
Now on to some event specifics:
- The D&D eXPerience @ Origins: This is our premiere experience event at Origins. Players in this event get a set DM, table, and show-exclusive content. This event is run by our established, best-of-the-best DMs. In order to be considered for this, you must be a Level 3 or higher DM in the Herald’s Guild program. If you are new, this is the event you want to be running one day in the future. The top of the D&D DM mountain. Do 2-3 shows for us and knock our socks off, and you to can be part of this awesome group.
- D&D Adventurers League Event: This is our standard four-hour event at the show, perfect for new and experienced DMs. It is set to run in about 3 1/2 hours so you have a little time at the end to gather up your stuff, hit the bathroom or food court really quickly, and get back for your next slot (or if your last slot for the day run to the Dealer’s Hall).
- D&D Fast Play/Intro Event: This is our two-hour (90 minutes of play) fast-play event. It is still a four-hour shift of work, but in that you will run it twice. It is fast-paced and a lot of fun. It is sometimes interactive. Which means several tables around you could be working alongside your table towards some kind of group goal. It makes for a fun time and is very popular at the show. It is great for newer DMs as preparing a one hour mini-event is a lot easier than a four hour one.
- Shadow of the Demon Lord: This game is from Schwalb Entertainment and is a fantasy-based game in a world on the brink of madness and destruction. This does not use the D&D rules, so you will need to already familiar with this game to DM it.
- HQ: You will get to know this gang well as the show goes on. These are Baldman Games staff whose job it is to take care of all the little things going on around you at the show so you don’t have to. Their job is to make sure you have everything you need, so all you need to do is focus on your game and give your players a fantastic time. They are long-time DMs and staff members, most of whom have been doing this 10+ years – and some closer to 30. We usually have a few open spots each year for data entry and reception here. This is great for example if you want to help DM and get a free room but your significant other doesn’t DM. We can put them to work earning a room in another fashion, and you can still share a room together. We have many couples who do this.
Well, hopefully that was helpful in getting you up to speed on what we are about and how you can help us help you. Now on to the nitty-gritty details that hopefully will now make more sense to you.
For 2017 everything at the show (outside of HQ staff) works on 4-hour shifts. This means the show has 11 slots from start to finish as listed below.
|Slot 1: Wednesday 6pm-10pm||Slot 5: 9am-1pm||Slot 8: 9am-1pm||Slot 11: 9am-1pm|
|Slot 2: 9am-1pm||Slot 6: 2pm-6pm||Slot 9: 2pm-6pm|
|Slot 3: 2pm-6pm||Slot 7: 7pm-11pm||Slot 10: 7pm-11pm|
|Slot 4: 7pm-11pm|
The D&D eXPerience @ Origins: This year we are expanding the program into two tracks of 6 DM’s each (all Tier 2 adventures). In order to be a D&D eXPerience DM, you need to be a Level 3 or higher Herald’s Guild DM. So if you DMed Gen Con last year, you should join the Herald’s Guild because you might be level 3 and not know it. Email us or use for Forums for details. You can run two tracks of this program to hit 8 slots for a free room.
D&D Adventurers League 4-Hour Events: These run 9am, 2pm, and 7pm on Thur, Fri, and Sat (9am only), and 9am on Sunday. That’s 9 total slots to pick from. There are one hour breaks between slots each day. You cannot request off all nights or mornings. You will work at least 1 or 2 of each depending on how many slots you are doing total.
D&D Adventurers League 2-hour Events and Intro to D&D: These run every two hours all day long (9am, 11am, 2pm, etc.) and are 90 minutes of play time. You will run it twice during a normal 4 hour slot.
The D&D Open: This runs Saturday from 2pm to 11pm with a one hour break in the middle around 6pm. This is our huge D&D Adventurers League event at the show and all DMs doing room level or higher are required to help with it (DDXP DMs are excluded).
Room Level: DM 7+ slots of 4-hour events (one slot over half your show time) and we’ll cover your room for 4 nights (Wed night to Saturday night) at the show. These rooms are paid for by Baldman Games (please be nice to them) and are 4 to a room (couples will be two couples per room to make 4). We cannot flex the nights covered or guarantee any earlier or late checkouts. We just don’t have any pull with the hotel in this case.
- We currently do not know where our rooms are but will update the DMs once that is known.
Badge Level: DM 4+ slots of 4-hour events and we’ll cover your badge for the show. Save many bucks for drinks or vendors and get warm fuzzies for helping out at the show.
Handshake Level: DM 1+ slots and get a hearty handshake (available at HQ anytime we happen to be standing there). Not everyone can devote chunks of time to DMing, but everything helps and everything is appreciated. Even DMing one slot gives 6 or so people some fun that they wouldn’t otherwise have.
Origins 2017 DM Registration