The 2006 Origins Awards nominees were “announced” a few days ago, and the Origins Awards seem less relevant than ever.
In light of that, and because it sounds like a fun idea in its own right, should there be Treasure Tables GMing awards?
Gaming Report pointed out that the awards were “announced” on a handout at GTS 2006, with no fanfare whatsoever. Ken Hite blasted the 2005 awards in an Out of the Box column. Mike Mearls pointed out a host of flaws with the voting system (among other things). Bruce Baugh took issue with the list of nominees. And Malcolm Sheppard shared several gripes about the awards.
I have my own concerns about the relevancy of RPG awards in general, which I wrote up in Which RPG Awards are Relevant to You as a GM?
Despite all that, I had an idea this morning that really grabbed me: GMing awards.
Not GMing awards in the sense of recognizing GMs for their efforts at the gaming table — that would be great, but I don’t see how it’d be possible (does everyone who votes have to play with the GMs who are nominated?).
What I’m thinking of are GMing awards that recognize the books, PDFs, accessories, websites and other things that make GMing easier and more fun. (“GMing awards” doesn’t sound quite right — it’s pretty bad shorthand for what I’m thinking of, actually — but I can’t come up with anything more appropriate at the moment.)
Off the top of my head, here are some of my thoughts, questions and concerns about this idea:
They need to be independent. This is what makes the ENnies meaningful to the RPG community, and what, unfortunately, seems to have made the Origins Awards increasingly less relevant.
Keep ’em small. They’ll be small the first year because they won’t be well known, but I mean small in the sense that there aren’t too many categories. Offhand: Best GMing Section in an RPG Book, Best Accessory for GMs, Best PDF for GMs, Best Free GMing Aid.
There needs to be community involvement. I see the value in privately-judged awards like the Diana Jones Award, but I’m all about involving as many gamers as possible in this process.
This one’s a bit mundane, but they need graphics. Sadly, I can’t supply these.
What should they be called? The first thing that jumped to mind was “the GMmies,” but that’s a bit too close to the “ENnies” to make them stand out.
How would voting be handled? Voting over the web sounds ideal to me, but I don’t have the technical knowledge to pull this off (prevent ballot stuffing, etc.). (I can provide the web space, write the rules and so forth, though.)
How should they work? The most important question of all. What’s the timeframe? Are they pure fan awards, like the Pen & Paper Fan Awards? Or a mix of fan voting and private judging, like the ENnies? Or something else entirely? This is a very open question.
I realize that that’s a big list of reservations and tough questions, but I really do like this idea. This is a very smart community, and I believe we can come up with a small, meaningful, fun and appealing set of GMing awards.
So how about it — are you interested in this idea? How would you address the concerns I’ve outlined above? And most importantly, do you have any ideas about the process, the nuts and bolts or any other aspect of these (currently hypothetical) awards?