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. 

Friday, March 4, 2022

Still Got 1 hp

 I almost died last weekend. 

No need to get into details, but I've been home from the hospital for two days now. I can walk again. I can almost use my left hand. Typing this is physically difficult. 

I'm expected to recover in a couple of weeks with minimal or no complications. 

Everyone has been great. My sister started a fundraiser. My coworkers are covering my classes. My wife has been at my side. 

Anyway.  I want to restart OQ when I can. I want to game. 

Literally anyone can die at any time, regardless of youth or health. Go game. Go write games. Go do things. I made my saving throw this time. I might not next time. I won't forget that. 

Friday, February 25, 2022

Random Thoughts

 So I'm still pretty much not gaming, and in fact I have told a few people that I am retired from the hobby. I don't think that's true, but there are a few conversations I was in that I simply wanted to end, and telling people I've quit the field is an exceptionally efficient way to accomplish that. Plus, there is a possibility that I have hung up the dice for good and become a lame-o collector of books. 

-I canned OpenQuest, if that wasn't painfully apparent. I'm keeping the files, and if I restart it, I am inviting only two of the originally invited four players. 

-I am proceeding through the Super Secret Manuscript at an absolutely glacial pace. So far I like the bits I've read, and that's all I can say at present. I will not flake on this, I just haven't had a lot of spoons lately. 

-My wife watches the Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor in Paradise. It's often on in the background when I'm playing SaGa Frontier Remastered on my Switch. I did sit and watch one episode, and I would gladly slam my genitals in a car door than watch another. Where am I going with this? A friend of mine inflicted the first episode of Vox Machina on me a few weeks ago. I would rather watch the entire season of Bachelor in Paradise with the missus than watch another episode of VM. You do the math regarding how many car door slams that equates to. Silver lining: The incident reminded me that I need to catch up on Rat Queens, and I believe there's at least one newish TPB I have to go and get from the library. 

-Not to be confused with SaGa Frontier Remastered, the graphic novel Saga has returned to publication after a hiatus. I think Saga is the closest graphic novel you can get to RIFTS, though it has a good deal more romance than the average RIFTS campaign probably  does. 

-I'm going to read through all of the Nightbane rule books. All of them. Gods help me. I think each time I finish a chapter, I'm going to stare at my reflection in a mirror while the Johnny Cash cover of "Hurt" plays in the background. 

-The Bard's Tale 2 is a joyless slog, I am determined not to let the game beat me. My personal holy war against BT2 is so that I can see if BT3 redeems the series, as I have been told it does. My grudge with the game is not nearly as bad as Zelda 2 for the NES. I will see Zelda 2, and it's entire development team, in hell. 

-I party wiped the kids playing HeroQuest at Board Game Club last week. One friend has admonished me for beating children at a game. Another friend validated me by saying: "Teenagers are not children. They are small adults who need to learn about disappointment." Props to the girl playing the wizard, who tried to take on the quest boss/objective while her companions proceeded to make all the worst possible decisions. Don't split the party, kids. For real. Planning an in-depth post of the four or five personalities I've encountered at BGC. 

-I have found a student who is willing to take over as DM for the 5e game at Board Game Club, after I announced that I would not be DMing anymore. 

-I am slightly miffed that I bought all the Necrotic Gnome OSE Advanced Fantasy stuff, which I have been stuffing in the box with the original stuff, but now there's a sexy new Kickstarter for a boxed set of books that I'm pretty sure are only ones I already own. I still need to finish my "Why OSE Sucked" retrospective post. 

I should get going on my on-hold posts. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

A Perplexing Mental Spiral

 I'm not doing a lot of gaming these days. I've canceled Open Quest more than I've run it. 

I like buying gaming books. I like buying them a lot. 

I sort of like reading them. 

I like world/setting building. 

I don't like prepping for game sessions.

I don't really like running game sessions anymore. 

I'm at this really weird spot. I like the *idea* of gaming, I just don't seem to actually like *doing* it anymore. 

I've been playing the remaster of the Bard's Tale trilogy, and I find that in my head, I have backstories, and even personalities, for the characters in my party. There is absolutely no rp in BT. It's a dungeon/city crawl, with the second and third titles adding wilderness. Your characters never talk and have no personalities, yet I imagine it as a sort of campaign in my own head. The issue with that is that I'm in a space where I vastly prefer to play fake campaigns in my head than to deal with human beings, even friends. 

I still co-sponsor the board game club at this school, but I'm basically just an adult body in the room so that they can have a club. Some of the kids still ask me to roll out 5e for them, but after the last session... I'd rather put all of my dice in a blender and drink the resulting container of plastic shrapnel than DM for them again. I am trying to gently persuade one of them to become DM. (There was a girl who was DMing, but she moved away at the end of the previous semester.) 

Not really sure where to go from here. Ostensibly, I like rpgs, I just don', *actually* like them anymore, when it's time for the plastic to hit the table. (Or, more accurately, for the prompt to hit the Discord dice bot...) 

Oh, I still need to go through that manuscript for JB. I fully intend to do so, since I still like reading gaming shit, even if I don't really enjoy participation anymore. 

Thursday, January 13, 2022

On the Barista Thing

 Every time I say "The discourse around D&D couldn't possibly get any dumber," the discourse says "Hold my beer." 

At least I didn't engage this time. I will, however, summarize the broil as I understand it: 

People who never liked 5e continue to dislike 5e. 

Did I miss anything? 

Thursday, January 6, 2022

The Obligatory 2021 Retrospective

 Aside from getting married, 2021 fucking sucked.

Anyway, this blog is about gaming, so.....

....gaming in 2021 fucking sucked.(Until the very, very end of the year, that is.)

-Started the year continuing the OSE game I started in summer 2020. It wasn't great. I've been working on a blog entry exploring why for a long time. In April, we took a hiatus for one of the three players to work on some creative/professional stuff, and I took the opportunity to quietly deep six the game. 

-I had prepared to run six tables at KantCon, the tables all filled up, and then I had to go and cancel my trip and pull the rug out from under the convention. I didn't go for a lot of personal reasons I needn't discuss here. I'm embarrassed enough about my last minute cancellation, and leaving six tables empty, that I'll likely never return. 

-Ran nothing else until December, when I started up my OpenQuest 3 game, of which I snuck in two sessions before the year closed. One of the players in OQ3 was in the OSE game and she much prefers the former to the latter. 

-Presently have a manuscript of a game I've been waiting for quite some time. I haven't had a chance to dig into it, also because of various personal things, but I plan to start very soon. 


I will probably write some thoughts on OpenQuest again in the near future. So far, the game is so simple it's hard to have much to write *about.*  (Yes, that's a good thing as far as I'm concerned. Simple games, yo.)