Friday, September 27, 2013

When Will You Make An End?

When is it, do you think, that you stop playing? It might be when you get that job that really requires you dedicate yourself to company, success, competance, what have you. It might be the birth of your child, who - following that first initial impact, seems to take more and more of your time as the months, then the years go on ... until at last you have to admit that you're not quite getting in all the things you ought to be. It might be after that first few years of running the little tykes, that window between six and eleven years, before they don't want to be a home on Friday and Saturday evenings, when they'd rather play with their friends, and you look around to discover you have no one else to play with. Or perhaps it's after that attempt to get back into it, ten years later, and find that everything about the game has changed, the people have changed - and they are a LOT younger than they used to be ...

Perhaps you'll just burn out. After all, one can only spend so much time drawing hallways, putting in little doors and little secret doors and putting the umpty umpth stairway into the umpty umpth corner. Too, there must come a time when there are not just too many orcs, there are too many of everything, and the experience sours a bit of players rule lawyering the same rule that's been lawyered and lawyered to death. Would that the consensus could just be reached on such things, but there you are, the rule has to be discussed once again, well ... because it has to.

It could be that the gentle reader will just cease to care. One more alignment debate, one more agonizing desconstruction of gaming versus simulation versus narration, could be the death of you. It just takes one, you know, to force an acknowledgement where one is forced to admit that one just doesn't give a hoot anymore. The camel's back is not merely broken, the funeral has been held, the cremation accomplished, the trip to the camel's homeland has been made and crops have been planted, tilled and harvested from the camel's ash. The thing is done.

What are the measures for how much of it you can take? Do the serious minded burn out more quickly than the frivolous gamers. Are the 4th editioners defeated by one more 18 hour combat, or are the basicers more quickly exhausted by little four minute blips of dice-rolling between long, fluffy setting descriptions? Has Paizo redeemed you, or are there hidden toxicities in the game design that will one day bereft you of your will to fight on, design on, game on (or simulate or narrate)? Have you gone the right way that will let you game until your retirement, or has the dim comprehension that the day when you'll stop begun to play about your psyche?

Then again, religion carries some through all their lives, the same hymns every year, the same words every holy day, repeated and repeated, a catharsis you drag yourself through for the good of your soul ... long after you've been able to take any pleasure from it. As the endeth does approacheth, so does the anxiety with which one mumbles the words, as the promises of the gods come that much closer to fruition or disappointment.

Will you make an end of it? Or will you drag on until it has ceased to offer the sweet taste it did three decades, four decades ... even five decades ago. Are you ready to call it 60 years, or 70? And what will all this sound and debate mean then? What will railroads and sandboxes mean then? What will any of it mean?

7 comments:

Nine-toes said...

After my daughter was born, that effectively ended my D&D playing... for now. I've had several ends happen. My group moved away/disintegrated, we graduated from college, I moved to a new town. I've always had the opportunity come along to pick it back up again, and I've always been willing to do so. I may one day lose all enthusiasm for D&D, but it hasn't happened yet. I've wished I was still with the online group everytime I stop in to see how they're doing.

Arduin said...

Real nice, Alexis. I make one comment about when you'll update some older content, and your next post is about leaving forever! What am I supposed to think?

In regards to the content then, I don't have a fallback for when I'll have to bow out of the game. I imagine it will come right atop a heap of other realizations about what I'm utterly unable to do at that time of my life any longer.

I'll watch a host of potential experiences slip through my increasingly aching fingers, and while at first the escapism of D&D will offer me solace, one day I'll resent it as a reminder of the host of ways in which my body and mind have begun to fail me.

Or you know, maybe I die early by slipping on a d20 someone left on the floor. Either/or. I don't imagine I'll regret the time I've spent on the endeavor.

JDJarvis said...

Love, family, and career haven't yet drawn me away, If anything the richer my life elsewhere the richer my gaming becomes.
Chess occupies some folks for their entire lives, D&D and RPG offer a lot more then 32 pieces dancing in 64 squares.
I don't see an end in sight just subtle transformation.

Brian MacKenzie said...

When the kids grow up and I complete my career, I shall play D&D daily and win acclaim as the dopest DM in my retirement community.

Tom said...

Until my last dying breath

JB said...

Yeah, I kind of accepted I'm just a hopeless gamer. Even when the rest of my life pushes itself into the priority position, it's always lurking back there, ready to push forward and fill in the cracks of my spare time.

Nerd for life, I guess.

Dave said...

Why would I allow any of the metagame arguments end my love of playing the game itself? That my current players are 30+ years younger than me won't end it either...