All Been Done Before

It is hard to believe that the role playing game hobby is now over 44 years old. Harder still to believe that I have been along for the ride for around 37 years. In all of this time, the outpouring of creative genius has been every day increasing at an exponential rate. It’s got to be nearly impossible to have enough shelving for all the games and their editions, plus adventures, maps, art, and other related works. In all of this, it is rather easy to believe that all of the ideas have been taken and that all of the available content makes the production of new stuff futile at best.

Against this bleak outlook, however, rise the continuing stream of new rules sets to learn, new worlds to explore, new art to marvel at. Even the products which are avowedly inspired in part or altogether are wonderful new perceptions of the old games they are based upon.

And then, of course, there is commentary, most of which is far better than mine. Commentary is the mirror in which we can examine the game from the outside, as well as the jump off for appreciating the quality of the games and the hobby on the whole.

Permission to Suck

I’m not sure where I first found this concept, but when I can keep it mind, I have the power to do anything. In this case as long as I have permission to do badly, to write poorly,to draw awfully, there’s the chance that I might create something wonderful. At least passable, anyhow. Without the leeway it gives, I find I am stuck in the trap expressed so well in the old expression “The Perfect is the enemy of the Good.”

And so, even though it has all been done before, I will find my inspiration and pursue my mediocrity among so many that have gone before. I will draw my maps and monsters, I will write my trite plots and insipid fiction, and I will engineer my ridiculous rules. And so should you, if you feel so inclined.


Why Did I Ever?

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.



The Cost of Obsession

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.


When all seems darkest, and I feel so little hope, and then I see a couple good things.

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.


If you don’t have a chronic illness, don’t talk about your spoons

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.


GM Tips #02 – The Social Contract, or the “Golden Rule” Of RPGS

Allow me to present the article written by a much more prolific game writer and commentator, Eric Evjen, on the importance of the social contract in setting up a role playing game. It may seem like a lot of it would go without saying, but that is a certain road to misunderstanding. A skewed expectation can harsh a whole game, for just one person or for the whole group.

Erik Evjen

As far as the scope of “GM Tips” goes, I want to make sure I cover things in a chronological fashion in the same way I go about starting my own campaigns. Obviously, you need to pick a game system to run (GM Tips #01 is a primer of some great d20 games to try out), but once that’s settled you’ll need to figure out how you want to run your campaign.

This is where the “Social Contract”, or the “Golden Rule” as I like to call it comes into play: I find it extremely important to sit down with my potential players and discuss what they’re looking for when they come to play in one of my games. Likewise, I also like to let them know what I’m looking forward to running or how I’m doing it.

What is the “Golden Rule”? Essentially, an agreement between the GM and…

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