Friday, October 3, 2014

Talking the talk

It occurred to me yesterday that I currently spend more time and energy on writing stuff for games I don’t play, than I do actually playing RPG’s.

Due to my real-world obligations (kids, college, work, etc.), I am unable to commit to much gaming time. I have a regular game of D&D with a group comprised of three couples in our 40’s (more or less), with kids and similar obligations. We meet roughly every two weeks, with occasional interruptions due to a child’s school (or in a couple of cases, martial arts) functions, family vacations, visiting relatives, and so on. We even have a player (also a 40-something) who recently moved from Wisconsin to Florida, but still participates through Google Hangouts and Roll20.

When I compare my past experiences to the recollections of others who have been interested (if not participating) in gaming for as long as I have, I find my experiences somewhat lacking, as it were. I started D&D with Moldvay’s box in 6th grade. But, I don’t recall getting to play a whole heck of a lot. I mean actually play. There were no campaigns, no long-running sessions. There was just a lot of talk, conjecture, and planning. In fact, until I was a sophomore in high school, I’m pretty sure I had only ever gone through one module (Slave Pits of the Undercity).

When I was a sophomore, I finally found a gang of buddies who were also into RPG’s, and we played a lot. But, we still never played any campaigns. The closest I came to one was when my friend took me (as Andrew Hearst, 005) solo through three different missions, using Victory Games’ James Bond RPG. We also played a lot of Marvel Superheroes, a bit of Gamma World, and a few odds and ends games. But nothing terribly long-lasting.

Then, during my senior year, I met a couple of new friends. My old gang had broken up, as a couple of their parents had moved away from the Air Force base we lived on. So, when I met these two brothers (who it turned out, had been there when were in 8th grade a few years prior as well), we started an AD&D game that lasted several months. That was probably my first “campaign” of any kind in D&D.

Through my 20’s and 30’s, there were several dry patches. In the Army I had some buddies who played, and we played a lot. Even a couple of mini-campaigns. But nothing lasting more than a few months. This trend continued, with breaks, when I got out and moved to San Diego. My last group there liked to play all kinds of games. And while the Stargate SG-1 run was pretty long, even it had breaks in the middle for other stuff.

So, now I find myself in my 40’s and finally experiencing the kind of years-long campaigning so many of my fellow gamers talk about doing back in high school and college. It’s an interesting experience, and I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like to do this kind of gaming back when I was a young man, without much of a life beyond my own personal gratification.

Now, if you have stayed with this post to this point, you get bonus XP. Honestly, in my rambling and reminiscing, I may have forgotten what my original point was. I think what I’m trying to say is that my gaming experience sometimes feels like it has always been atypical. I’ve always had an interest in a wide variety of games, but haven’t played half of the ones I’ve wanted to. Maybe it’s time to try and rectify that. I’m in a position where I have a wife who totally understands the jones to play (she is running a Dragon Age RPG session at our local Con next month), so I might be able to finagle some time to join another group. Can’t quite get myself to try out the online thing, as I would be very self-conscious about talking into a mic, not to mention being interrupted constantly by the 5-year old. But, I might get to that point someday.

Either way, I will continue to generate content for games, just as I’ve always done. I have reams of old papers containing ideas I would dream up during my dry spells, where I didn’t have anyone to game with. So, I guess that just comes naturally. Now, if I could just find a way to quit my day job and do this stuff full-time…

1 comment:

  1. This sounds a lot like me. Although I did play in an ongoing campaign in high school run by someone who, while not famous, has definite connections to some very well known people in the early RPG community and has an Origins "Best Role-playing Supplement of the Year" award. But beyond that, I've never really had a real campaign either that I've run or played in. And now I make more stuff than I play as well.