Sunday, August 30, 2009

Timely Thoughts

I want to write just to thank those who have commented the last couple months, both those who have enjoyed the civilization posts and those who have disagreed with me. I'm really only at the doorstep of the total number of posts left to write in the series, and I'm happy that it has turned out to be a good idea after all.

Tomorrow will be the 30th anniversary of my first participating in a game of D&D. The story of that night was the subject of the first post on this blog. It was the friday night three days before I began high school ... so I was truly a kid, 14 years old.

Over the years I've been in many worlds, some good, some bad ... but I admit I haven't been a player in a regular campaign since 1991. And it was bad, the bad rejoiner to a string of bad campaigns, enough to stop me from looking. That means that for half the time I have been playing D&D, I haven't had another DM to keep me honest.

This probably has something to do with my inflexibility when it comes to the game. My players, god love 'em, don't seem to mind, but at times I feel drained and apathetic. It has been three months since I've run my campaign, having taken a sabbatical for the summer, and my players are getting anxious to get things kicked back into gear. I wish I felt like them.

For while I've worked on my world and I've written fairly continuously on the subject, I'm not looking to getting back into weekly and bi-weekly harness again. As years past, the game process begins to aggravate. It has something to do with the post I wrote lately about DMing like an asshole, but mostly it is that I'm growing old and an evening spent with people shouting and talking over one another has begun to aggravate me. I have been casting around for some means to fix this, but short of implementing the above mentioned rules (which, incidentally, if you missed it I don't play by), I'm at a loss.

In some ways I liked the online campaign I started this spring. It was problematic to write descriptions for, and problematic as far as people being able to interact, but it was quiet. And as I move further into middle age, I am beginning to appreciate that.

I know I will begin to play. I know I will like it. But I also know I'm on borrowed time, that eventually as I move into my fifties I'm just not going to be able to take it. If I played with people my own age ... perhaps that might be different. But frankly, there are no people my own age. Not even those born in the same year as me, apparently.

Yes, I'm a bit down. Wouldn't expect that would you? But if I could ask for something after all this time, it would be that this game could be, somehow, as civilized as bridge, or chess, or anything else where patience and thought took precedence over the raw release of animal spirits.

I don't know. Am I alone?


Oddysey said...

Have you ever tried chat room gaming? It has some of the same problems as PBP, but it resembles tabletop much more closely, except that there's greater attention to detail and a lot less goofing off out-of-character. Slower, too, but much faster than by post. Not everyone likes it, but as far as I'm concerned the trade-offs are more than worth it.

Chgowiz said...

You are and you're not. I like the games with those under 18 to be demos and one-shots, because they would wear me out otherwise. My current group keeps me busy, but they've grokked into how the game runs, so I don't have as much grind and I run only 4 games a month.

I think that because this game taps into emotions and one's inner image of their character, along with the resource management and tactical/strategic aspects, it does get personal hence the release of "animal spirits". I have seen a few wargames get heated though!

FWIW, I enjoyed your online campaign too.

Carl said...

I've posted on this subject, too. You're not alone.

I will, on occasion, fantasize about playing D&D when I'm in the nursing home. It will be quiet and civilized and I'll have cherry Jell-O. That's horseshit, of course. Someone will kill someone else's PC and then we'll never hear the end of it.

Occasionally, I need to play. DMing is a very different thing. It requires different muscles and brain regions. Playing helps me rejuvenate those. Unfortunately, like you I haven't been a player for a long, long time. I try, but I'm demanding and not easily impressed.

I'm certain that you and I are not alone in being desirous of playing in a "good" campaign. I think NetMeeting might be a good start. I've done some work with video conferencing and tabletop gaming and I'd like to try some more experiments. If I stumble into anything interesting I'll let you know.

How's your book coming?

Alexis said...

Thank you gentlemen, for the feedback. It is appreciated.

Apparently this anniversary for me is shared; it is the 25th anniversary of the beginning of MuchMusic, Canada's version of MTV.

Carl, the book isn't coming. It is being dragged, kicking and screaming, like a blind, rabid dog on its way to a vasectomy.

But I continue to try.