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The Glass Cannon Network State of the Naish and What it Means to Be in a Fandom

Lots of us here on Nerds on Earth are fans of the Glass Cannon Network (GCN). If you aren’t aware, GCN started as a single podcast (the Glass Cannon Podcast) as a group of guys playing through the Giantslayer Pathfinder Adventure Path published by Paizo. Over time, they expanded their offering of shows, becoming a goliath of tabletop gaming that rakes in over $80K per month on Patreon.

Earlier this week, Troy gave his annual ‘State of the Naish’ address, in which he talked about the upcoming changes to the network, their shows, and all of the happenings behind the scenes. You can find the whole thing over on YouTube, here. There were plenty of announcements, which we can quickly summarize as follows:

  • The Glass Cannon Podcast 2.0 (their aforementioned flagship show) will be moving to Pathfinder Second Edition after Giantslayer is completed. The show will be prerecorded and streamed on Twitch and will still be available in its podcast form. Additionally, the setting will no longer be Golarion; it will be completely homebrewed through the help of a talented team of writers including Tanya Depass, Jason Buhlman, Connie Chang, Brandon Hodge, Gabe Hicks, and Dave Kang
  • After completion of the Dead Suns Starfinder Adventure Path, Androids & Aliens will be on hiatus. There are too many long stories going on the network, and the goal is to focus on shorter bursts and seasons of content.
  • The Dungeons & Dragons 5E show, which was a previous Patreon goal, will start up sometime this summer. It will feature Jared Logan – which fans will recognize from the Blades in the Dark content – as Dungeonmaster, along with Sydney Ammanuel, Noura Ibrahim, Ross Bryant, and Clare Grant.
  • Get in the Trunk!, the Delta Green show born out of New Game, Who Dis? over the past year, will continue a third season. This time, Grant will be the Handler instead of Joe.
  • New Game, Who Dis?, where the crew plays through other tabletop gamings, continues with a plethora of new games including Mork Borg, Call of Cthulhu, Marvel Superheroes, and Warhammer 40K.
  • A new line of Pride Month hats and shirts will be hitting the store in June, with proceeds benefiting the Trevor Project.
  • A Blades in the Dark series exclusive to the GCN will be coming at some point later this year.
  • The alternating seasons of Legacy of the Ancients and Raiders of the Lost Continent are still green-lit to continue.
  • GCP Live show announcements for Gen Con 2021 and Atlanta

But the point of this post isn’t just to talk about the upcoming content from the Glass Cannon Network. I want to discuss the nature of fandom, and how growth affects the people within your fanbase.

When Glass Cannon was in its infancy, there was only the single show. The quality has always been excellent, but the recording wasn’t done in an exclusive space. Often times, the show was recorded in someone’s living room with cords running everywhere and every outlet in use.

Glass Cannon Network Core Cast
The original members of the Glass Cannon Network, courtesy of GlassCannonNetwork.com

At this point, the fanbase was small and dedicated. Over time, they took on the moniker ‘Glass Cannon Nation’, which was later shortened to ‘The Naish’. Whenever you have a small community like that, everyone feels close and connected. The community found ways to interact and share their love of the Glass Cannon by setting up fan meetups, organizing campaigns, and attending the smaller, more intimate live shows.

Everyone was united by a love of a podcast and the game of Pathfinder.

As the Glass Cannon Network continued to grow, their nature of shows expanded. They introduced a Starfinder podcast, another adventure path podcast, more Twitch streams, and hired more people. Troy and Joe moved to full-time, and the rest of the cast recently followed suit. That’s a huge move! The Glass Cannon is no longer a podcast – it’s a full-fledged business network for tabletop lovers everywhere.

And for some reason, there has been some backlash after this latest State of the Naish address. Some people are upset because the product their love is changing. For example, moving on from Pathfinder First Edition as their flagship show goes to Pathfinder Second Edition. And on top of that, making it a homebrew world and custom adventure instead of a published Paizo product.

The Glass Cannon is a partner of Paizo, so it makes complete sense that they would be moving on to support and promote Paizo’s latest venture with Second Edition. They couldn’t possibly be expected to continue playing a retired system, especially when Paizo wants to leverage that partnership to expand their own business.

And then, of course, there’s the cancellation of Androids & Aliens. For some people, that’s their favorite show. How could it just be cancelled like that?

And what about the people that don’t care about D&D 5E? Plus, there aren’t even going to be any members of the original cast on that show?! What is this madness?

As fandoms grow, they draw in a wider group of people with a wider swathe of interests. It’s no secret that Dungeons and Dragons is the most-played tabletop roleplaying game in the market. As a business, the Glass Cannon Network would be foolish to not try and tap into that to expand their fanbase.

Glass Cannon podcast logo
Glass Cannon Podcast Logo

The point I’m trying to make here is that the Glass Cannon is a NETWORK. The core cast can only be a part of so many shows and can only do so much before they’re completely stretched thin and burnt out. For their sake, it’s important for them to bring in fresh, new, and more diverse voices as a part of the network. Which is fantastic for the hobby.

I’ve been a fan of the GCN for a long time. But just because I’m a fan doesn’t mean that I feel obligated to consume every ounce of content that they produce. Because of their track record for quality, I give everything a fair shake before deciding if it’s something that I want to stick with. There are only so many hours of the day, and the GCN isn’t the only content that I want to listen to.

As a fan, it’s okay to not like a show. It’s okay to not want to watch content over on Twitch and only consume audio podcasts. It’s okay to have a proclivity for Pathfinder and not want to listen to 5E content.

But at the same time, you need to remember that for every person that doesn’t want to watch a stream on Twitch, there’s a person that does. For every person that prefers Pathfinder to D&D, there’s a person who feels the opposite way. For every person that doesn’t want to listen to one-offs of indie tabletop games like Delta Green and Blades in the Dark, there’s at least one that loves the variety.

It’s also a two-way street. If somebody feels like they are going to move on from GCN content or supporting a Patreon, there’s no need to think any less of them. People’s interests change, and that’s totally okay.

That all goes a step further to say that there’s no place to raise a pitchfork about change. If you don’t want to listen to something anymore, that’s totally fine. What’s not fine is to insult and bash the people that are excited about the announcements and things coming down the pipeline. It’s not fine to harass the people who have made the Glass Cannon their literal livelihood. As fans, we need to be better than that.

It just doesn’t seem like the vocal minority of the backlash is really warranted. Is it a fear of losing that intimacy when something grows beyond a small, close-knit group? Does it stem from the illusion of necessity that every bit of content has to be gobbled up, regardless of what it is?

People don’t like change, but change is always happening everywhere around us. There are plenty of podcasts and television shows that I’ve put down, despite having sunk hundreds of hours into them. Change isn’t always good, but it’s not always bad either. To me, the Glass Cannon Network has a proven track record. It’s because of this that I’ll give all of their shows and content a respectable shot before deciding if I like it or not.

Fandom is a tricky thing. As it grows, people feel less connected to the core group. It’s harder to ‘stand out’ on a Twitch chat, or over on a Reddit board. Newer fans don’t recognize the die-hard fans that promoted the podcast from the very beginning. It’s a byproduct of becoming more ‘mainstream’.

But at the end of the day, I’m still a huge fan of the Glass Cannon Network. I’m excited for what the future holds, and I’m excited that what they’re doing is going to bring my joy of their network to even more people. I want to have a conversation with someone where I mention Pathfinder and I don’t have to explain that it’s not just an SUV. The GCN growing pushes that dream closer to reality.

Be kind to each other, and be a good fan.