Monday, May 15, 2017

A Year Plus Later

"Go ahead and make all the plans you want.  Dream of what you will do in the future.  Life and God enjoy a good laugh."

That was a variation of an old quote I once saw.  It is so true.  This has been a year of crushing workloads, rapid calls for meetings, and a chaotic churning of responsibilities.  Technically, I should have had to endure the "empty nest" syndrome as the two youngest were supposed to move on after high school graduation.  But they did not.  Both live at home still.  One has goals, nebulous though they are.  The other just lives for internet arguments and playing games.  I'm calling it a "gap year" as both are rather naive and unprepared for the world they will be inheriting.

The gaming part of life is also in flux.  Had a good run in a campaign which introduced a new set of rules I never fully understood.  Its roots were based in Far Eastern mythology, culture, and practices.  Never been very interested in that part of the world, except in terms of foods and drink.  So, it was tough to get into the world and get a good handle on my character.  I'm not saying it wasn't fun or that I didn't have a good time, but there were moments where I just sat back and let others handle the situation.

The new campaign doesn't quite feel "right".  I'm not sure what it is that feels off, but there's something missing or something not working right.  I hope to figure it out soon as it detracts from my desire to play.  Discussing it with others has led me to think that a part of the problem is me.  I game because I want an outlet for the frustrations of life.  I want to "kill" things and do ridiculous stuff.  I want shenanigans and stupid antics.  If there's not a good belly laugh during the session, then it's not a good session.  If there's not a moment where we all just sit mouth agape at the absolutely ridiculous solution presented to a problem, then it's not a great session.

During some of those discussions, I learned something else.  I've mentioned here before about the differences in styles of play.  I had somewhat explored this idea before as well, but a friend put it most succinctly the other day and I will adjust it to even better clarify it.  Here it goes:

If your favorite fantasy books fall into the likes of Robert E. Howard (Conan, Kull, Solomon Kane, etc) or Fritz Leiber (Fafhrd & Grey Mouser), then you view your characters as "Adventurers".  They sometimes do good, sometimes do bad, but always look for fun and hijinks.  There is no grand scheme and each one carves out his or her own story from whole cloth.

If your favorite author is Tolkien or that ilk, then your characters are "Heroes".  They only do good and help the unfortunate.  There's a grand overall scheme to the world and they help to bring it to a good conclusion.

If your favorite author is Jordan or Sanderson or some of the newer fantasy writers, then your characters are "Destiny Bound" heroes.  There's a grand scheme and no matter what their actions are, there is no changing of destiny.  And once that is accepted, the adventure begins to see where Destiny leads.

So, as my favorite form of fantasy escapist reading is along the lines of pulp Weird Tales style stuff, it's now wonder I prefer that style of play and that form of GM-ing.  Ask me to be the hero, and I'll find ways to disappoint you.  Ask me to follow your crafted storyline and I'll dynamite your railroad tracks.  I'm not trying to be mean or disruptive, I'm just trying to vent through the game system.

What's the point here?  Well, I figure if you're unhappy with a GM or a campaign, maybe you need to step back and see if the problem is you want X and the GM is providing Y.  And I think that's my problem with the current campaign.  I'm asked to be a hero and follow a story line, when all I want to do is kill stuff and burn things down.  Since I'm the location host, I'll just sit back and work on what I'll run when it's my turn in the DM seat.

Good luck out there.
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