Okay, okay, insanity first:
Today I went to the used book store. I found nothing of interest in the gaming section, but as I was leaving, I decided to check out the "nostalgia books" cart. This is a cart full of out of print, rare, and generally overpriced old books. There is no rhyme or reason to the organization of said cart.
Then, I saw it, next to a massive copy of the Holy Bible with gilt-edged pages.
RIFTS Gold Edition. What. The. Fuck.
Number 415 out of 600 ever printed, signed by Super Kev himself.
Hmm...I get a ten percent discount....
Fo'ty five.... uh, no thanks.
I thought about it, and I do like to collect old gaming stuff, but... no.
Also, by a bizarre coincidence, Rob from my RIFTS group ran into me right after I picked the damn thing up. We sent a picture via phone to our GM, who I think briefly thought it was a new edition and suffered a minor coronary over it. I had to make a phone call to keep her from keeling over.
In the end, it went back on the shelf.
Anyway, about winging it...
I totally ran Traveller off the top of my head last night. I have not "winged" a session 100% in years.
I actually think I enjoyed it more than preparing for a session.
In high school, I ran an entire campaign of AD&D 2nd edition off the cuff. Maps made as I went, NPCs and encounters dreamed up on the fly, verisimilitude emerging from my brain patching things together improv style.
I'm not saying that I plan to run Traveller off the cuff entirely, (it's too late for that; I've got maps and blog entries about alien races) but I think I can worry less about preparation now. I forgot how much I enjoy thinking on my feet.
My wife really enjoyed the game.
I might have struck out at the used bookstore, but I think my spirits are lifted such that I might mosey down to the LGS and try my hand at their used bin.
...oh, and I did finally cave and buy the Rifter 53 because of that cover. A further bit of insanity: back in 2008, when I attended the local con in July, I played an excellent one-shot of Beyond the Supernatural, 2nd edition, that warmed me up to Palladium. That guy has an article in the issue of the Rifter that I bought. Full circle, man....full circle.