Saturday, June 14, 2014

Fighting My Way Back

Well, obviously, it's been a while.  I've been dealing with Dad's estate, my son's high school graduation and subsequent college choices, and just general burnout & depression.  At one point, the idea of getting out my gaming stuff and cleaning off the table to host the games made me ill.  I just wanted to slink off somewhere and hide.  The drama of the two gaming groups didn't help things.  Well, "drama" is too strong a word.  The increasing tensions due to divergent approaches and desires made each game a little less appealing and little more unpleasant.  I just don't do min/maxing.  I don't do munchkin. 

So, as I was sitting in a funk in mid-May, my oldest asked about the games.  The old school group had pretty much decided on taking a hiatus for the summer.  One bowed out for other games, two bowed out for the PF game, one wanted more time with his wife, one was having a baby, one was starting a new job.  The PF group had grown to 10 players, which is ridiculously untenable.  When I dumped that on her, she said "well I'm not surprised you don't like the PF game.  They're making avatars and you make characters."  Wise words.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that D&D had been shifting more and more toward a tabletop, pen & paper version of a computer game.  And that made me want to hang on a little tighter to my roots.

Then, last week, I finished reading Playing at the World by John Peterson.  I highly recommend this for anyone who is interested in an in depth history of wargames, roleplaying games, miniatures, and how they all met to make the game of Dungeons & Dragons.  The Epilogue goes into the development of computer use in the history of D&D, the various games and such. 

In fact, I finished the book the day before the start of NTRPG con.  I attended, though initially I wasn't very excited about going.  I was still burned out and not really wanting to game.  I just wanted to sit back and visit with friends.  But I got pulled into a swashbuckling game connected with a new ruleset that's due out sometime in the next few months.  It was fun.  Then, one of my friends begged me to join the AD&D Tournament game because they needed more players.  We ended up winning.  But the big turn around on my attitude was on the 2nd day.  A gamer from Austin had put together an OD&D game using the Avalon Hill Outdoor Survival map and rules, just like Arneson and Gygax used in the first couple of years of D&D.  And it was glorious.  It completely wiped away my funk.  I had a strong sense of deja vu as I played because it was exactly like the first games I played back in 1977 when I was introduced to D&D.   It was a wonderful hexcrawl game.  We had to keep track of water and food while searching for treasure and fighting off spiders, manticores, and dragons.  We ended up with a flying castle, a manticore pet, and the hoard from a family of green dragons.  Cutting out breaks and character creation, I would say we played a total of 4 hours.  So, from now on, the only D&D I'm willing to play is AD&D 1e and earlier.

So, where does that put me now, game-wise?  Well, I have walked away from the PF group and I do not intend to return.  I would like to think it's been an amiable parting.  I realized I wasn't happy but they were.  Thus, the logical thing to do is wish them luck and to go find a game I like.  The Old School group won't get back together until August at the earliest, and maybe not even then.  At least, most of them probably won't be back because they're off doing their own thing.  The wife suggested I start up a group for teens in the area that want to learn to play.  That's an idea worth looking into, and I've already got a couple dungeons and hex maps done up from my start in this game.  I'll try to keep you all posted.....if you're interested.
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