I’m stepping down from The Gauntlet today. I will no longer be the public face of the community. I will no longer co-host The Gauntlet Podcast. I will no longer have a presence in our Slack. I will no longer run games on Gauntlet Hangouts.
Mind you, I’m not completely backing out. I’m still the owner of the organization. I’m still going to co-host Fear of a Black Dragon, because I love that show too much to give it up. I’m still going to be the EIC of Codex and head of our publishing efforts, at least until I can wind those things down and meet our obligations.
If you have read Part 1 of this series, you know that roleplaying games saved my life when I was a little kid. I was bullied mercilessly—to the point of contemplating suicide—and it was discovering roleplaying games that kept me in this world. And ever since then, roleplaying games have always been a lifeline for me. They have been my refuge.
The Gauntlet used to be my refuge, too.
I’m very, very proud of what I helped build. The Gauntlet is just an incredible organization. We started from nothing and managed to build the fantastic Gauntlet Hangouts calendar, with nearly 200 sessions per month; the incredible Codex magazine, of which we just published our 35th monthly issue in a row; a range of high-quality, award-winning podcasts; and one of the friendliest communities you’ll find anywhere. And if you’re reading this: please go check it out. The Gauntlet is incredible.
But it’s not for me anymore. Being in the public hobby is not for me anymore. It has gotten too exhausting. And worse: it’s threatening to kill me. This hobby I love, this hobby that has saved me repeatedly, has become poison. I have panic attacks once every few days related to gaming social media. My heart begins beating furiously whenever I see someone tag me in something, either online or on Slack, because I’m so terrified it’s something I’m going to have to agonize over for the rest of the day. My physical fitness has absolutely plummeted as I spend every free moment hunkered over the computer trying to maintain The Gauntlet. I have no social life. I have no romantic life. And when I look in the bathroom mirror every morning, all I can think about is how I just want all of this to be finished.
I mentioned earlier that leaving The Gauntlet was an act of complete and total love. And it is: it’s an act of love for myself. But it’s also an act of love for The Gauntlet. My community is simply no longer capable of caring for me. They are no longer capable of seeing me through to the end. And, honestly, they shouldn’t have to. They signed up to play and discuss games, not to deal with my existential drama. My leaving is a permission slip for the community to continue being incredible.
And it will continue to be incredible. I’m going to make sure there is a nice turnover, that all my institutional knowledge goes with the next person. I’m going to make sure all our daily obligations will be met by whoever that person is. And I’m still doing my few little tasks I mentioned at the top, including wrapping-up Codex.
But I have to go.
Please know The Gauntlet will always have a place in my heart.
-Jason, Keeper of the Memory of the Way We Were