Lessons learned from three years of streaming

by GamerMomLuna

Tales from the Tavern, “the epic TTRPG stream where chat asks the questions,” ended a three year long run on October 30, 2022.  “Tales,” as I have commonly referred to it, started streaming at the end of 2019, and ran successfully though it was on three channels throughout its run. It changed channels several times because it was being run on a channel that I didn’t own, and through changing needs of the channel owners, it eventually needed to be bumped, and then bumped again, and then finally settled on my own channel in 2021. By the time the show ended, I had hosted close to 120 streams, with an additional two podcast-only episodes. 

The show worked like this: I had five guests from around the TTRPG community and would send out a Discord call to a group chat with everyone in it. Everything we talked about came from questions that viewers asked in chat, and a moderator would feed the questions directly to me via a private message. I would let everyone answer the question, but many times it ended up going into a broader conversation, which often led to funny, endearing, or insightful conversations about the TTRPG space. 

Immediately after the final episode ended, I felt both a sense of relief and a sense of sadness. The stress of running a weekly show is past, but also, I know I’ll miss connecting with the community in the way I have been since 2019. Not to mention, the amount of gratitude people had for the show – levels of which I never expected – was and is overwhelming. I’ve had people tell me that doing the stream “literally changed” their life, and I’m pretty sure they weren’t being sarcastic. I know it sure changed mine. 

So, why stop then? The answer is actually pretty simple: Time. Tales from the Tavern took a lot of work, and while I had an exceptional crew of channel and Discord server moderators, I did a lot of the leg work myself. The booking of guests each week, the promotion, purchasing giveaway items, soliciting donations when it made sense, that fell almost entirely on me. Not to mention the editing of the video for YouTube and podcast. It just got to be more than I could keep up with on my own. 

It feels weird not to answer questions from “chat” when talking about Tales from the Tavern, so I got some questions from a few Twitter users that they wanted to know about Tales and its end. So let’s dive into those.

@TheMightyJerd: Was the reason you started it the same reason you kept doing it?

This is a great question. Honestly, the answer is yes. I started Tales from the Tavern as a way to meet people in the community, let them showcase who they are, and to have fun just talking about a hobby we love. 

@dungeonglitch: Biggest difficulty and biggest reward – the highs and lows of Tales.

Biggest difficulty, hmm, that’s tough. I guess booking guests was a big challenge. I made a fair number of mistakes where I’d book someone and miss putting them on my calendar, and then they would reach out the day prior and I’d have already booked the spot again. It made me feel horrible every time it happened. I did get better as time went on, but it did still happen.

Biggest reward: “The reward is the friendships we made along the way!” No, seriously. I met some of the most incredible people doing this show. And I’ve had the chance to interview Mark Meer and B. Dave Walters, which I’d never have had the chance to do otherwise! At risk of getting really sappy for a minute, I also met my love because of this show. I’d never have even met him if I hadn’t been doing this stream, and I will be forever grateful that I was in the right virtual space at the right time.

@dungeonglitch: Lessons you learned, tips for people who are starting out, something you wish you knew when you started.

I learned several lessons running Tales from the Tavern. The first thing I learned was about Twitch and streaming and some of the tech. Don’t ask me how to use my mini mixer for my microphone, though, I still don’t know what all the dials mean. 

Another lesson was how to approach people about being a guest. I found that being direct with my ask, and being respectful of the other person’s time. If they don’t respond, I might follow up once, but that’s it. I shot a few big shots by tagging large creators on Twitter, but I didn’t do it frequently, and sometimes I just got lucky. That would also be my tip for someone getting started in an interview show, too. Also, don’t expect to get big names in your first few episodes. 

Another tip is to build yourself up in the community as someone who wants to engage and build up others in the community. Become a force for lifting up other creators. Be kind, and be authentic to who you are. The TTRPG community can see right through people who aren’t genuine in trying to be a good member of the community.

Something I wish I knew when I started…. Hmm… I wish I knew how time consuming it would be to do a show like this! I’d have brought in extra help from the start to help with scheduling or some of the other jobs that went with it.

@dungeonglitch: How has Tales changed you after 100 episodes? What is something you want to say to all supporters?

You know? I’d like to think that it hasn’t changed me as a person as all, but I’m pretty sure it has. In simple ways, it’s expanded my knowledge of streaming, of audio/visuals, of podcasting, and things like that. It’s also introduced me to a lot of new game systems I’d never had heard of. 

But in other ways, it’s allowed me to meet people that have absolutely changed my life. I’ve learned a lot about how to handle challenging situations, but also found people who have become extremely close friends, and even the love of my life. 

@TheVirtualDM: What was the most unexpectedly difficult part of running your podcast?

This is a great question. Honestly, I think it was time and scheduling. Booking 5 guests on a weekly basis is a lot of people. You figure each season had at least 20 episodes (Seasons 1-3 had at least 30), that’s coordinating a minimum of 100 people (not including myself) each season. It’s exhausting! But it made for fantastic conversation each week, so trying to do it with fewer wouldn’t have had the same effect. 

@OnlyDansDnD What was the most helpful way, in your opinion, you grew your brand and got guests on stream?

I mentioned this a little above, but I started by just growing my Twitter presence by being kind, lifting up others, getting involved in conversations. This happened naturally because Tales from the Tavern hadn’t started yet when I first began growing my Twitter presence. But I built my presence organically by just being an involved community member. Then, when I had something I wanted to share, people were ready to listen to what I had to say about it. That also helped me get guests for my stream. People already knew who I was and what I was about. 

So, tell me – if you watched Tales from the Tavern, what were some of your favorite memories? What else would you want to know about running the show? If you’d like to see any of the previous episodes you can catch them on my YouTube channel. Leave a comment below and I’ll answer your questions!

2 thoughts on “Tales From the Tavern Wrap-Up

  1. Wonderful article! Thank you for sharing what you’ve learned along your journey. I know the show will be missed, but I hope to continue seeing you on Twitter, and hopefully I can get you on a game or two on my own channel in the future! 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Jeremy! I’ll miss doing it, but honestly, just not looking at my watch every hour on Sunday was REALLY nice!

      Would love to join you for a game sometime. I’ll be around Twitter for sure – you know where to find me!

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