Saturday, December 28, 2019

It's 2020, Where's My Goddamn Robot?

Welcome to 2020. This is not the future I was promised as a child.

I'm starting my 12th year of running this blog, even though nowadays I just post little thoughts and snippets. Gone are the treatises of my early days, and probably for the best. I used to post snippets of half-finished projects, but all of those projects remain half-finished.

A few thoughts:

*So I'm on that big OSR Discord know, the one with like 300-400 people online at a time.
Normally, that kind of thing isn't my bag at all, but I've found a thing that is fun to do there:

There are a couple of channels, #dice-democracy and #d20-democracy, where we all build tables of random shit. Each person takes turns contributing one entry to the table. Whoever provides the last entry creates the next table. For instance, you might have "1d8 irritating hirelings," and whoever does entry #8 would start a new table, perhaps "1d12 diseases you might catch in the underworld" or some-such. I've become a regular contributer and I've started a few tables. It's surprisingly fun.

*I read Troika! and it will get its own post. I am waiting on my physical copy of the book. I have a friend who is quite excited about playing it.

*I am reading Esoteric Enterprises, and so far I love it a lot. I'm not sure it scratches the exact itch that my B/X WOD attempt was going for, but it's definitely something I needed in my library. In particular, I'm interested in the fact that Emmy was partially inspired by White Wolf's Orpheus, a weird little short-run game they released around 2003ish. (I just remember I was in my last or second to last year of undergrad.) I loved Orpheus and I'm interested to see where it pokes through in the game's implied setting.

*I broke down and bought the Old School Essentials Boxed Set, which is something I've been wanting for months now, adding it to online shopping carts and deleting it with an intensity bordering on edging. Seeing that the tome sold out, I decided to grab the boxed set while I could. I know there are plans to restock it, but I'm not historically known for my impulse control and frankly it's mind-boggling that I have successfully denied myself this long.

Immediate plans for 2020:

-Conclude the third season of my present game.
-Switch my home game back to Wednesdays and change it to either Troika! or Ryuutama
-Flip a coin between taking over for that 5e group or starting a game of B/X with the two people who have expressed interest in playing IRL and damn the rest. (Or perhaps run the games on alternating weeks.)

Running three games during the school year while debate season is on is a practical impossibility, but given the non-start/failure rate that tends to plague the hobby, I figure it's best to hedge my bets.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

My Gaming in 2019: The Obligatory Retrospective

Last year, I set some goals for 2019. Let's see how I did.

-Knock out two more seasons each of Monster of the Week and Monsterhearts 2.

I knocked out one season of Monster of the Week.  I knocked out one season of MH and should have knocked out another, but the group fucking cancels and goes on hiatus so much that we've played eight times since fucking August. Goal failed.

-Try Urban Shadows or Masks. Leaning toward Masks because 80% of my gaming in 2018 was urban fantasy/horror

Goal failed. I didn't so much as crack open either of these games because of how long my other two have dragged out. 

-Find a totally different goddamn group to play old D&D with

Utterly and totally failed. I can't so much find a single gamer in this town who doesn't wan to play Pathfinder or 5e. Well, except for John, and he's a forever DM. I don't really want to play in a non-DM capacity anymore, so that makes the issue a non-starter.

-Go to KantCon again (Still salty about the one I missed)

I went to KantCon and three out of my four games were fucking magical. It was easily the best KantCon I've been to, and the best convention one shot I've ever run in the form of Cartoon Action Hour. 

So, one goal out of four achieved. I will tout the bonus victory, however, of getting my girlfriend to enjoy an OSR game. (Starships & Spacemen at KantCon) Given her "old D&D sucks" stance, it was a pretty significant turnaround.

I do enjoy the MotW/MH shared universe game I've created, but it's 95% of what I've run since August 2018 and I want to wrap the present season so I can do something else for awhile.

2019 was also the year I was invited by like four different groups to DM 5e, and I either turned them down outright or just blew them off...I regret that last part, but just... fuck. I'd rather run just about anything else, and it's absolutely maddening to be unable to fill a table for old school D&D but to be tripping over 5e groups. Something something ancient mariner.

So, my goals for 2020:

-Go to KantCon, although at this point that's sort of become a given, not really much of a goal.
-Run something that isn't PbtA for a significant length of time. (As in, other than convention one shots.)
-Find and additional convention to go to. (Not Nuke-Con)
-Kidnap several people and chain them up in my basement, forcing them to play B/X D&D in exchange for food.  Continue to seek out new gamers with differing interests than my home group.

Happy end of the year to you, you fuckin' nerds.

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Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Self-Indulgent Holiday Sentiment

It's Christmas Day and I feel like I should be reading gaming books and making characters.

From 5th grade until 12th, my grandma on my father's side always got me a gaming book or two with the obligatory socks and other things. She knew I loved it, she knew it was something I did with my friends, she knew I could give her a list of books and she could get one or two from HobbyTown USA in Eastpark Plaza. (That HobbyTown location closed over 15 years ago and Eastpark Plaza is now just a movie theatre with an attached Linens n' Things, the rest of the mall having dried up long ago. )

She hadn't the faintest idea of how roleplaying worked, and as a child I did try mightily to explain to her. Ultimately, it didn't matter that she was unable to grasp what exactly I was so jazzed up about, but she supported it.

I remember one year it was Gamma World 4th edition (the actual 4th edition of the game released in the early 90's, not the one that coincided with the 4th edition of a certain other game.) One year it was GURPS 3rd edition. One year it was the reprints/new covers of the AD&D 2nd edition PHB and DMG. I know there are others that I'm just not remembering, and I'm not sure at all in what order I received them, but it was a part of my life for quite a few years.

Now that I'm well into adulthood - chronologically, at least - I usually buy myself a gaming book 'round Christmas, since those aren't really the types of gifts I receive anymore. This year my Selfmas present was an order of Troika and Esoteric Enterprises. I only have the PDFs, as my hard copies are stuck across the pond probably until after New Year's. I'm not sure reading a PDF will scratch that tradition itch. Perhaps I'll pull something off the shelf later.

For now, I return to our Christmas tradition of digesting an obscene amount of Chinese food while watching terrible, terrible movies. At present, it's the live action Dolph Lundgren He-Man movie. Yowza.