Why did I ever stop enjoying <Game X> ?
I am, as the blog name implies, not very good at picking a system and sticking to it. My game hobby experience can be broken down into roughly 4 phases. First, there was TSR, meaning in particular D&D, AD&D, Gamma World, and Star Frontiers. Second there was Steve Jackson Games, mostly GURPS of one flavor and another. During this phase, I was into numerous settings, even converting other games to GURPS for ease of getting others into them, which worked mostly but occasionally I would blunder along while my group moved on past me to simplifying and hacking the settings as they saw fit with dizzying speed. Third, the revolt of the group as they got into trading card games and the Vampire larping scene. I followed along, but I did so reluctantly. My Fourth phase, which is my current, can be characterized as going for the obscure; beginning with Savage Worlds when it was gaining its amazing popularity and then losing interest when it was in its prime. I have yet to find the game I will stick to, dabbling in a lot of really nifty games.
Sometimes I moved on from a game because my friends were. More recently I have been greatly influenced by internet propaganda and hype, getting excited, buying in, and then losing interest when it seems that the wave has passed. Sometimes I quit a system because continuing with it was getting too costly. With Savage Worlds, in particular, I saw the required outlay growing from a scene filled with freely shared hacks to one where there was a lot of great stuff around for increasing prices.
I actually got back to the table top and played a session and a half of 5th Edition D&D with a mostly new to me group.
That may not sound like much of an accomplishment, but I have been struggling with social anxiety and chronic pain for quite a while, and my gaming at the table tapered off and then vanished about a year ago. I am giving myself permission to go and be a bore or good company as it may fall. I give myself permission to make poor character choices in the name of story. I give myself permission to get up and go when the pain gets too overwhelming, or to take whatever is prescribed and hang around all loopy and goofy.
I had a really good time both Saturday and Monday, and I look forward to many games in the future. I may even run a few, though those will be either Basic D&D or one of my many other games; I am not in coin at the moment.
I first played the game Fallout when it was released, and I spent a lot of time with the various iterations of that franchise, missing only New Vegas. I love the nods given to the earlier media, such as the leather armor (the “road leathers” in FO4) referencing the costume Mel Gibson wore in the Mad Max movies, particularly The Road Warrior. I like the various factions and the description of the world after the disastrous war of 2077.
But these were not my gateway into the world after civilization.
In 1980 or so, I got the box set for Gamma World. I had been playing D&D for just long enough to be eager to devour each issue of Dragon when it got to my local library, and this new game was advertised, and something inside me needed the game. Some of my most memorable scenes were from that game. It still strongly influences me in my gaming choices. Unconsciously, I weigh every game I mean to get into against it. Every setting is measured against the world as imagined by its authors (as then interpreted by my 12 year old understanding of it).
So then what else gets there for me. Well, I missed out on the hype train around the recent edition of Gamma World as seen through the D&D4 lens, so I didn’t get it and really haven’t looked at it more. Shadowrun was also a post-apoc I could and did enjoy. The recent slou of games in the OSR tradition based to some degree or another on GW are really cool, and I have enjoyed as many as I have looked at. The upcoming nod from the guys behind Dungeon Crawl Classic looks really nifty. Also the background behind Wil Wheaton’s “Ashes of Volcana” setting for the Fantasy AGE game is pretty cool, though for me it misses some essentials.
The elements that make a post-toasty (term from THuD) cool for me include
- It happened here- to some degree or another it is this world that has passed away.
- Psionics or magic is a thing
- Mutations can be both good and bad, but the chaos of the apocalypse leaves no two beings too similar.
- The original critter needn’t be a human. Best if it is possible to be any sort of animal, robot or maybe even a plant.
- The world has been destroyed, but there is hope still in our protagonists’ hearts. -I like a tale of rebuilding, not one of further drift into death.
I do not think there is any way the current iterations of the Fallout franchise can be anything like a real role playing experience as created by folks around a table. I do not see how it could be possible for the computer based games to allow for the amazing variety of possible characters a real tabletop game can provide, nor can it provide for the level of choice in the actions of the player characters.
How fascination with computer role-playing games sucks up all of my time.
I have a life that revolves around the pain Nexus in the high center of my back. It is not surprising, then, that I am very fond of getting out of my own life and being in the place of some other. In the past my best bet for this was sitting down with a table full of fellow role playing game players, but with the Advent of the wonderful computer game available I find that escape easier and quicker unless complicated. The trouble is I want so badly to be out of my own life and in this other where I have power, glory, and wealth that in anything that even seems to help a little to distract me from my troubles, be it food, videos, or c-rpgs, become obsessions or even addictions.
Third Eye Games new generic rules are released and available at the One Bookshelf sites RPGnow andDrivethrurpg. My first scan through the pages show me a decent set of rules and how those rules can work in a number of different ways to make for a good gaming experience. A couple of things stick out to me to be aware of when buying this pdf. The first is that if you like to print out pages or the whole book for use at the table, the pdf is layered letting you turn off the background colors for a printer friendliness. The second is that while the rules call for six sided dice, the majority of rolls could be made just as effectively with any binary random selectors you might have. I picture using pennies and nickels when the black and white dice are called for. The only difference is that certain abilities make it so sixes count double, and unskilled shot-in-the-dark rolls only succeed on a 1. If you neither have the special abilities nor are unskilled, coins flipped will do, it seems.
Is it really going to be worth fifteen bucks?
As fully realized generic rule sets go, this is in fact a fair bargain. Some, like Savage Worlds, are cheaper by a bit, but I have to point out that for the most part, you use SW with another supplemental world book while The Pip System is geared to work pretty much out of the book with no more than the usual session prep time. There will be game books coming out based on The Pip System, some of which were stretch goals for the Kickstarter campaign, but each of these will be a stand-alone book without need for the basic rules open alongside.
The artwork throughout the book is charming. The page background is friendly to the eyes. The fonts are well chosen and easy to read at speed. Not as gorgeous as some books, but then I spent half as much as I would have for them.
The first good thing is another update from Eloy Lasanta about his game system book “The Pip System” soon to be on RPGnow.com and soon to be in my hands as a Kickstarter backer.
The next good thing is an update that a new revision of preliminary rules will be out from Green Ronin’s Cortex Prime system book. I backed that one, too so I get to see it Wednesday or soonish after.
And then to cap it all off, I went over to RPG.net and ran across a very funny comic called Fuzzy Thinking and then got my resident 14 year old boy in here to see it and a few pages more back issues of it, and not only did I get to laugh a lot, but it kind of made me feel like I could get out there and game a bit once again. It has been rather a while since I played with friends. Instead I have finished an Associates in the Applied Science of IT Services with honors, and I played a lot of computer games, mostly Subnautica these last few months.
So good things happen when you go looking for them. Has that ever happened to you? Comment below or on your favorite media platform, and tell how something funny has brought back your gamer mojo.
The Secret Reason I am Not Gaming Anymore Won’t Surprise Some.
It is also why I don’t have the stuff to make videos and why I don’t finish my homework or clean up my office, bedroom, or yard. Mine is invisible and insidious, diagnosed as “neuralgia” which means basically “nerve pain we cannot explain or legally verify.”
Disabled, but denied disability, so a burden on my family, church, and friends.
Dependent on my disabled son and overworked underpaid wife.
Mental illness fueled by invisible wings of fire sprouting from between my shoulder blades with roots stabbing into my spine.
Pot holes and big rigs.
I cannot even face my truly officially disabled friends and family.
Nobody says it. Maybe nobody thinks it. But I hear it all the same.