Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Prospects of Slow

How many of us question when we may be too old for this game?  I know what the young think; they think what I thought once upon a time - that the answer is never.  I'll never be too old.

Still, I'm not talking about loving the game, or enjoying the game; I speak of when we will simply be physically too aged to run a campaign.  When does that come?  Sixty-five?  Seventy-five?

I can tell you right now I am starting to feel it.  I am 47 and there are definite signs.  I am not as equal to the task of quibbling over small, minor rules for twenty minutes at a time.  I don't care as much - I want the matter settled because I'm quite bored with what I've come to recognize is an insignificant detail.  I'm equally bored with looking up a particular number in a particular book - which I am finding I have to do because I've actually begun to forget pages I once knew cold.  I don't know if it's disuse, or disinterest - or the first signs of senility.  I do know that piling through books in the middle of a session is more exhausting than it used to be.

I can't seem to think as fast on my feet as I once did, even five years ago.  There has been a noticeable change.  My brain just locks up, where it never used to.  I do better now having lots of time to think ahead; I have to less and less rely on 'winging it.'  Oh, sure, I still have really great ideas at the last second and all - but there have been too many real life sessions lately where I'm simply stumped.  I'm casting around the books trying to find a good monster to fill the time when I once would take a pee break and come back with something brilliant.

Running until after midnight, too, is getting harder.  I used to let combats go on until one, two in the morning if that's what it took to finish; that just isn't possible.  I eat some kind of protein dinner late in the afternoon (not too late, or I'm sleepy), then jack myself up with coffee and sugar to get through the night.  By the time everyone goes home I am in the middle of a legitimate blood sugar crash - I actually sometimes experience chills and the shakes from it.  Mostly its because I haven't had actual, healthy food in seven hours - and before the gentle reader tells me to eat actual, healthy food during the session, let me explain that at 47 actual, healthy food makes me yearn for my sweet, sweet bed.

Sometimes, come ten o'clock, I have to call a session closed.  This is three times more likely to occur if we happen to end a combat at ten o'clock.  I am becoming shameless in my old age.

Not that any of this keeps me from doing this every Saturday ... except the prospect of NOT doing this on some Saturdays can be a beautiful, beautiful thing.  Now and then a running has to be cancelled for some reason.  I usually suspend my campaign two months in the summer time.  I'm looking forward to that two months.

How will I feel ten years from now.  I will say with certainty, as tired as I am now, I will be much more tired at 57.  I am much more tired now than I was at 37.  There is no hope of improvement here; that's a fact of getting old.  The older you get, the clearer you are on the principles of age = no improvement.  You learn to appreciate things you can still do.  You adapt yourself to the reality of never playing tackle football again.

There are compensations.  I'm smarter and more experienced and I think happier.  I am also slower.  I will continue to get slower.  Watch me - given enough time, you'll see I don't move at all.


Carl said...


Thanks for writing this. You have articulated many of the feelings I have had about gaming lately in this article.

For me, I was looking forward to not gaming more than I looked forward to gaming. I stayed at this point for a while hoping it would pass. It didn't. I'm not gaming.

The idea of gaming is still strong. But like Steinbeck's beer float in Cannery Row, the idea of it is much more enjoyable than the reality.

Enjoy your coming summer.


PS -- The new look of your blog is wonderful!

Tedankhamen said...

A year or two ago, someone floated the idea of an OSR old folk's home. As much as the idea sounds neat on paper, I dunno if we'll have the capacity to enjoy such a thing. Makes me glad that the OSR boasts many younger players yearning for something more than D&D Next.

Troy_Costisick said...


That was a very beautiful and poetic entry. I'm getting older too, and I'm starting to question how much longer I can do this. Thanks for posting. It's good to know others are feeling this way too.