Monday, November 14, 2022

Coming Out of My Cave and I've Been Doing Just Fine (Sort of)

Using a Killers reference for a blog post title is certainly a new personal low. Now all I need to do is start one with that Smash Mouth song and my apotheosis will be complete. 

Yeah so in August I got up the gumption that I was finna rustle up some D&D players and play D&D at a table in my basement they way God intended*. 

It...didn't work out. We didn't even get to the table. Given my cranky-middle-ageness and general anti-social tendencies, I tried to vet the players and meet with them before giving them an invite. Some of the lowlights include: 

-Getting told that D&D is racist because black dragons are inherently evil. (So are white dragons. So are blue dragons. Also alignment is stupid. Also dragons aren't fucking real. Also if you wanted to do the D&D is Racist discussion there are so many better arguments than the colors of dragons.) 

-Getting told that D&D has become "woke garbage" because...I don't know honestly I stopped listening and just kept saying mhm and yeah over the rim of my coffee mug. I think he was mad because like, the gays or something. Weirdly enough, dude loooooooooved Dragon Age. I never finished DA1 and never got around to playing 2 or 3, but I'm pretty sure queer relationships are possible in those games. 

-Being begged to let a player play some insane custom furry race they made up, and being told that I should include mechanics for sex and romance. 

-Having someone bring a copy of Wanderhome and try to convince me that I should run that instead because dungeon crawling just isn't very interesting. Yes, I explicitly stated before the meeting I was looking for players specifically for Dungeons & Dragons. 

This is not some commentary on the state of D&D discourse. It is as if my Twitter feed somehow manifested into a series of physical bodies. 

Anyway, the good point about all this is that I'm opening up more to my college friends' continued attempts to get me to game online, because now I don't want to let tabletop gamers into my house. I'm not quite there yet, though. 

I think the last gaming book I bought was the new Robotech/Macross book from Strange Machine. I had zero illusions about ever running it, I'm just an absolute nostalgia whore. I am a recovering collector. I'm even considering a drastic reduction in my collection, but I need to find the easiest way to get rid of them for the most cash. I have precious little energy these days, and most of the methods of selling off the excess books all seem like pains in the ass. 

Anyway. Where do the gaming nerds hang out online these days? There is where I'm starting to feel my oldness creep in. I've tried Discord servers, but the signal to noise ratio on most of them is more than I can filter. MeWe...I literally just remembered that existed. I don't remember my username or login or anything besides the groups in my state being just a bunch of anti-vaxxers. The whole of Twitter is starting to look like the last twenty minutes of the End of Evangelion. There's something called Mastodon. Who names this shit? I deleted Facebook in 2009 and have no intention of going back. Dice Camp? Or is it I don't know. Can I get my Geocities page back? 

Blogger is starting to feel like MySpace circa 2011. 

Hope your games are going well, nerds. 

*Dude, I don't believe in God.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

 I'm still not gaming. I don't even buy books anymore, that's how you know shit's serious. I have also stopped even pretending to read them. Part of this is lingering brain damage: I can read, at most, about a page at a time, and I retain virtually none of it for more than perhaps ten minutes. I also have a seriously impaired ability to concentrate, so trying to listen to instructional videos for rpgs is also futile. 

I've had two more medical crises since I last posted, and all three of them are unrelated. I've got a diagnosis for the brain, at least. In the wake of all of this, my depression has surged out of control and I just don't feel like doing anything anymore, especially anything that requires mental effort. GMing requires mental effort. Even being a player (which I already had little interest in) requires effort. It has literally taken me hours to put this small post together. 

Mostly I just sedate myself and sometimes play old video games, mostly ones I've played already, since it has become difficult for me to follow any complicated narrative. It's not that my maladies have made me stupid, it's just that they've sort of hit the pause button on my brain. I can recall things I already know, I understand things I already know, but absorbing and retaining new information has become onerous. In a way, this is an educator's own private hell, to be incapable of learning. 

I don't know when I'll be back and posting again. I might read from time to time, maybe even comment, but I find that discussing gaming stuff just kind of makes me sad. 

Anyway, enough about my woes. Hope your games are all going well and continue to do well. Anybody looking to buy some books, maybe get in touch with me. 

Friday, April 29, 2022

Old Man Yells At Clouds

 I have not started a new game yet. 

I'd like to, but I find that I just do not enjoy running games on Discord. I just don't. I've run several now, different systems with a variety of peripherals, and the experience leaves me wanting. It's like burning a blueberry muffin-scented candle in lieu of eating an actual blueberry muffin. 

I enjoyed my online Ravenloft/Masque of the Red Death game I ran online back in 2014-ish. I also didn't mind having one player play remotely via Skype when I ran AD&D 1st edition back in 2009. (The player moved away mid-campaign.) So why has my taste soured so? Perhaps Covid has just left me utterly sick of online interaction. Perhaps I've just had worse luck with these last few online outings- someone always has mic or connection troubles, multitasking runs rampant, the game stalls out as I try desperately to draw a hexagonal chamber on Jam Board, whatever. 

The bottom line is: I have reached the point where I think I'd rather just not game than game via Discord. 

That leaves a related problem: I don't want to game at conventions. Masks are optional now. I have asthma. I have diabetes. I'm recovering from and honest-to-fuck stroke. Yes, I'm vaccinated and I have the booster, but I'm in a high risk category, and I frankly do not trust people to be safe. People are dumb as shit, my friends. I'm not going to KantCon this year, or DemiCon, or Midwest Game Fest. (Which I might have actually missed already, I just don't care enough to check.) 

There are a few game stores nearby with small tables, social distancing, and masks. Unfortunately, they are all tables being run by someone else, and I am a forever DM. I just don't like running player characters in other people's games. 

As for home games... most of my local gaming friends would rather play via Discord. One has very young children who can't be vaccinated yet., so he avoids in-person gatherings. One lives fifty miles away and can't swing the extra time and gas. One doesn't have a car and lives all the way across town. One has like five kids and zero free time away from the house. Etc, etc, etc. One of my friends last night told me that face to face gaming is outdated and a thing of the past, and she suggested I need to just realize that it's time to let it go and embrace Discord/Roll20/whatever. For the record, I don't believe that's true, yet, but I can also see it happening. 

So what do I do? Box up all my books and sell them at Half Price Books or on Ebay or Noble Knight or something like that? Resign myself to playing remakes/reissues of JRPGs on my Switch? Continue playing Bard's Tale 2 until I put my face through my computer monitor?  I don't know. I'm not really ready to give up my biggest hobby for the last thirty years. I'm trying to learn FlexTale, which isn't grokking with me at all and, let's face it, that 600+ page PDF is looking increasingly impossible to tackle. Will solo gaming even be satisfying? Will it feel like I'm just playing an extremely analogue computer game? 

My shelves runneth over with dozens of books. Dozens and dozens, in fact. Most of them I have never read. In fact, my recent attempt to read my more recently acquired books ends in my dragging myself through half a page, retain nothing, reread, retain nothing, and then just shelve the book and fire up a video game or take a nap. 

So, I guess for the time being, I'm just in a holding pattern. Anhedonia is a thing, and it's a thing I'll hopefully be treated for in a few weeks. It's also quite possible that gaming the way I want to game is just not something that's part of my life anymore. 

Monday, April 11, 2022

Perspectives, Aspirations, and a Weird Little Find

Over my medical leave, I consolidated my bookshelves. I didn't get rid of any gaming stuff, but my collection is ridiculous, and even assuming my lifespan hasn't been considerably shortened by recent medical woes, I do not have enough time to run all these games even if I live to the statistical expiration date of an American male. What do I do? Leave them to collect dust? I have no heir to pass them on to, and my wife isn't a gamer. Hopefully this is not a question I'll need to answer any time soon, but I have reached a saturation level of gaming material that I hadn't really considered until recently. 

There are seven weeks left in the school year. I'd like to have a campaign of *something* running by then. I don't even care what it is at this point. RIFTS? 5e? Bunnies & Fuckin' Burrows? I just need to actually cobble a  group together from the fragmented half-groups and lone wolves in my orbit.  

Life is weird and fragile. I hope your games are going splendidly. Part of me thinks that the best of my gaming years is behind me, that I might never actually run a face to face game again. Who knows. I will do my utmost not to make that my fate. 

Oh, and I should also mention: while excavating my bookshelves, I discovered several issues of Christian's Tolling of the Great Black Bell zine that I apparently never opened...they are still in the envelopes. There are three or our such issues, and I think they arrived sometime over the course of 2015-2016. I'll get to them hopefully soon, and see what I've been missing. 



Sunday, April 3, 2022

Radiant Wot...?

 Alright, I may have missed something, so perhaps someone can better educate me. 

The people who literally own Planescape as an IP have opted instead to create a Great Value Brand Planescape? 

Welp. I'm pretty sure that Spelljammer and Planescape are available as POD options on DM's Guild. Perhaps I should just set sail for the Island of 2e. 

...that is, someday when all my fucking medical bills are paid... 

In other news: 

I'm still not done with that Nightbane character, but making characters, especially ones with lots of fiddly adjustments, is a great way to practice when you have kind of relearn how to write. It still feels like my handwriting isn't mine, but rather a very convincing forgery. There is a strange "tug" when I do it. Typing has gotten back to normal, and I'm approaching my old levels of speed and accuracy. 

I'm looking at resuming my OpenQuest game sometime in May, or perhaps the first week of June. I might even  consider reaching out to some different players. If you want to play OpenQuest 3rd edition with my on Discord, holla at ya boi. The vibe is a mix of the original Fable video game, the 90's TV show Roar, the 2010's BBC Adventures of Merlin, and maybe a bit of the weird Bard's Tale spinoff that has nothing to do with the original trilogy. 

Tomorrow I'm going to sit down and reread the Secret Manuscript. Reading it in tiny chunks has only left me with a fragmented jumble of data I can't really retain. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Dude I miss Joesky

 Remember Joesky? Bro has not posted since before the pandemic. Here's hoping he gets back to posting. 

That's all. Still alive. Haven't started a game. Rolled up a Nightbane character last night because 1.) I need to practice my handwriting, and 2.) I enjoy harming myself, apparently. 

Here's to another week and a half of medical leave. 

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Blue Planet!

 The summer after I was in 11th grade, I went to my first nerd convention, Conjuration in Columbus, Missouri, with a dear childhood friend who I was visiting for a week. 

One of the highlights of said con was playing a one shot of a game I had never heard of, Blue Planet. It was a very, very indy game...that is, small publisher. It was a crunchy, hard sci-fi romp on an alien world cut off from Earth. It had environmentalist undertones. It had uplifted orcas as PCs. It had a wound effect centerfold...this big ass chart in the middle of the book that described, in often graphic detail, the effects of an injury upon an unfortunate body. Until then, my 16 year old self had never seen the phrase "arterial spray" so many times in just a couple of pages. 

I'm pretty sure I've blogged a little about Blue Planet before I think it was one of my top ten covers I posted about some years ago. I usually forget about Blue Planet. I bought a copy of the book at that convention, though I have absolutely no idea what ever happened to it. I do know that none of my hometown pals were interested in it at all. 

Anyway, Blue Planet is on Bundle of Holding right now. You can even get the second edition that Fantasy Flight published in like 2000 or 2001. I know absolutely nothing about the second edition, but I do know this if it doesn't have the damage centerfold, I'm not interested. 

In other news, I am still alive. Typing is not very difficult anymore, though hand writing is still a herculean effort.  I can feel my left hand most of the time. I have not started gaming again just yet, as mostly my life is a string of medical appointments, therapy, and exercise routines. No need to bore you with the details. 

I might try to finish some of my half-finished and long-saved posts. My typing gets better with practice, so if nothing else, it will help me get back up to speed. 

I hope your dice are rolling and your tables are running.