The Bacon Battalion

What do you get when you combine RPG’S, cameras, bacon and YouTube? Perhaps one of the sexiest shows ever made. Welcome to the Bacon Battalion.

Would you mind introducing yourself to the readers?

I’m Guy Sclanders and have been Roleplaying since 1991.  That’s before Pokemon Go, Smartphones,social media and Harry Potter fans. Now Tabletop Roleplaying, like Dungeons and Dragons, has left the… ahem… Dungeon and is flourishing on Youtube. That;s where me and the team create How To be a great GM, How to be a great Player and system review videos and of course it where our weekly Role playing game is hosted. The channel is there to help geeks get more out of their game (role-playing). Basically it’s a channel about how to create captivating stories for your players to enjoy. I create content for Game Masters on How To Be A Great Game Master and I create content for players on the Bacon Battalion RPG channel. It’s basically an entertainment channel on Youtube where our Geeky Guys and Girls play Roleplaying Games. It is them against the dice and only they can save the world….Pity Really! Think fun, laughter, romance (Yes there is romance with a Drow) and pulling on the heart strings. The channel also creates videos on How to be a better player in roleplaying games. So essentially we are lifestyle role playing channels… Well role playing is our life so does that count?

Why bacon?

Generally because it’s delicious. But for the channel we were trying to come up with a name and figured that Bacon was something everyone liked and it was said as a joke but has stuck since then.

What made you decide to enter the world of RPG gaming?

I didn’t have a choice. All my friends would vanish on a Friday night with paper and pencils. My first session I made a wizard – Belenran. He would be 25 today if he didn’t die fighting a carrion crawler from the Red Box of Dungeons and Dragons. From there I attended a convention and was told I should never role-play ever again as I was bad at it. So I totally ignored that. Then moving from playing with friends happened when I got told at conventions people were not entering competitive GM sessions because they assumed I’d just win. So I retired from competitive play in South Africa and together with my partner at the time, we made a couple GM videos. Just three I think. Took nearly a year to do. Then I met Carla and Derrick – two amazing people and we reforged the channel into what it is today, in February this year. My sole aim with the channel is to become world famous and take over the planet Earth… wait… I mean… to make sure that everyone can get together to discuss and learn about GM’ing and Playing this awesome thing we call RPG and to become better at it so that we can all just have awesome fun.

Are there bacon related characters in RPG?

Absolutely. You make your own characters, in the next game we going to be playing Mutants And Masterminds by Green Ronin Publishing , you make your superheroes fully customizable so if one of your powers is that you transform into Bacon or you shoot crispy bacon out your eyeballs, you can make that happen… Wish that would happen Bacon hmmm.

What’s the history of the Bacon Battalion?

The history of the bacon battalion involves the dread legion….no let me start over. Bacon was borne out of two elements – one is cold and clinical but true and the other is romantic and lovely and also true. Do I have to tell the truth here? It’s very difficult for a GM to remember the truth… anyway. So I have been running around thinking how cool it would be to do an online game to help use as an example to others on what to do and what not to do. When I met Carla it was like a gay man meeting a straight woman… shopping and tea and fun times really. So we got to hatching our plan. Our great friends Sias and Sin were eager to join us around the table and we just needed a fourth. Enter Sean – a friend of a friend. Suddenly we had our team and I think we fit really well together. Once the guys decided on Bacon Battalion as their ‘team name’ my world was set on a collision coarse with destiny… and eggs with a side of toast and onions please. 

What sort of games do the Bacon Battalion play for their channel?

We have been playing Pathfinder but are moving onto Dungeons and Dragons fifth edition and in between we play different rpgs like Mutants And Masterminds.

Any of the games involve a bacon wielding dwarf named Barry?

How did you know!!!???? That could be an NPC in any game I run. LOL

Tell me more… What are your thoughts on the current state of RPG gaming?

RPG gaming in South Africa is at an interesting point – like board-gaming in this country (South Africa). It’s becoming mainstream and growing. Internationally it’s stronger than ever before with things like Pathfinder society really spearheading a surge in RPG. Add to that boardgames like Mice and Mystics or FF’s Imperial Assault where boardgame and role-playing meet and it’s a new world.

And with other Youtube channels sharing videos and becoming famous for role playing it’s becoming more mainstream and available to everyone. Which is great also there’s this weird turnaround with people wanting to watch people play TTRPGs even if they don’t play themselves which is interesting.

BB group portrait 1 Mug

Do you like smoked bacon?

ALL THE BACON ALL THE TIME! Smoked, pickled any style… Wait can you pickle bacon?

Do you use it during recordings?

For fuel sometimes, but only if we wake up early enough as we record on Sunday mornings.

What was the most challenging aspect to developing a video for an RPG game for YouTube?

Technology. Although I work in TV if I were to produce Bacon as a TV show it would cost me about R75k an episode. So we had to adapt to what was available. We still spent a small fortune to get it to where it is now. What is interesting is that YouTube viewers are there – they speak their mind. We spent a lot of money to solve a lot of their concerns, and continue to try out new things to raise the bar of our channel all the time.

In hindsight, what has helped and hindered the Bacon Battalion?

Helped: The cast who shares and engages and is really there for the fun and the game. Also the fact that we talk to our fans who then talk back to us, a lot, it’s epic. Plus waking up to see notifications that say ‘and then you add a giant banana’ or the fact that people care about my state of beardiness or unbeardiness as is the sad for case now. But mainly that we are all mates in around the table and out there in the real world so we hang out when not playing. It’s cool. 

Hindered: South African internet. The show is big, and we keep it big for quality, but to upload a 1.6 gig file on a 2 mg line is near impossible. Real life too becomes a pain as we like to record on Sundays – every Sunday to feed the channel, and on Mondays to feed the other channel, and on Tuesdays to feed the other other channel… to run a channel or two takes dedication and massive RL sacrifices which I think people don’t realize. 

Any advice for those interested in making game videos?

Have a regular upload schedule and stick to it. Do content you love and people who love it will follow, you can’t be the only one. Make sure people can see your face in the videos they want to know you and not just the game. And never. ever shave. EVER.

Do you feel the world needs more bacon?

Yes and world peace and unicorns but mostly bacon.

Last words?

What? I didn’t realize it was that kind of interview… my last words will probably be… can someone please upload this quick… actually that was a glib answer. It would probably be: No. Fuck off I’m busy. I do plan on living to the end of the human civilization so I haven’t planned any last words. But if I stop being a kid here for a second… 

Role-playing is an integral part of human culture and has been since the dawn of knuckle bones, spoken word, and caves. We tell stories all the time, we learn from them, we use them, we hide behind them, and we love them. The power we have to ignite the imagination is amazing and something that is truly human. I feel that for children role-playing should be a thing – a school sport. What it teaches and develops is insane. For adults it should be used as a way to encourage, inspire and is a much better way of blowing off steam than any narcotic out there… except bacon. Bacon is always better.

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