18 March 2011

Wildcard Wednesday (on Friday) - RPGs

Today, I'm going to talk about role-playing games.  (And warning to my non-gamer readers, I'm probably going to use Gamer terms that you may not know.  I'll try to explain when I can, but I'll probably miss a lot because it's second nature for me.  If there's something you don't understand about it, please ask!)  I got an e-mail from one of the games I used to play back when I had a lot more free time, wondering if I would be able to join the game again.  Unfortunately, I don't think that I will be able to.  Between the 1.5 games I am still in (and yes, Paul, I know I owe a turn for SB. :)), my swap-bot responsibilities, this blog and my offline responsibilities like housework, kids and reading, there's a lot on my plate.  But I really do miss face to face gaming sometimes.

I started role-playing in college.  My friend Eric introduced my friend Allison and I to GURPS, having us create characters that were based on ourselves for a Supers game.  While Allison fell away after a couple of weeks, I fell in love with being someone else and played through the rest of my college years.  Along with my psionic Supers character (which may get written about on one of these memories Mondays because she got into a lot of trouble), I also played a female mage named Morgana that had an affinity for the death-touch spell.  Even though I didn't realize it at the time, I was doing a great job at breaking the game.  But I learned over time.

I had a pretty long dry spell between college and moving to NY.  I think I played once with a couple friends from HS, but as for regular playing, it just wasn't happening.  When I lived in St Pete, I didn't know any other gamers.  And when I moved back in with my folks, my step-mom was very anti-RPG.  She was a firm believer that role-playing was a tool of the devil.  Later in life, after we'd talked quite a bit about it, she still didn't like it but was ok with me playing.

After my husband and I met, I played a lot more regularly.  We had a regular group in Philly that met weekly - 1st at a local bar/restaurant then at our apartment.  We played for a couple of years before our move to Nashville put a kibosh on our group.  We were able to find a group with kids around Teddy's age and gamed with them until they moved.  And then we found another couple that also games, and have kids our kids' ages.  But due to work schedules and hyperactive kids and the like, we don't get to game with them very often.

I also don't get a chance to go to too many Cons.  The main problem is the kids.  While Teddy could probably come with us and have a good time, Pete's still too young and one of us would have to have an empty slot so we could keep an eye on him.  Travelling further away is difficult for the same reason.  I know that some of the AmberCons are child-friendly (Deb's often told me about how she brought her kids from a young age), but sometimes they're a bit further away.

Plus, my focus in games have changed.  When I was a college student, I loved rolling the dice and seeing the damage rack up.  I wasn't quite hack-n-slash gamer because I did like the story portions, but story wasn't quite as high on my need list as it is now.  I'm finding myself wanting to play more of the Indie games out there than the big names.  D&D 3rd or 4th Ed is fine and so is GURPS, but I'm finding myself wanting to play Burning WheelDogs in the Vineyard or Dresden Files, just to name a few.  I want to build a character and watch her grow and change.  I want to see what the GM is going to throw at me next and how I can work with it.

As much as I love PBeM and PbP games, there's an immediacy that comes with face to face games.  With online games, I have times to think about what I'm going to do next, weigh pros and cons, phrase things just so.  It's great for my writing because I have to describe so much.  But when I play a face to face game, I get reckless and that's where most of my best moments have come from.  Like the time I managed to phase myself through the villain in a Supers Steampunk game, forcing him to phase through the center of the world because he couldn't control my power.  It was close to midnight and I was tired and I thought, "What the hell?  Go for it." because I was too tired to think of anything else.  And everyone at the table loved it.

Some day, I'm going to get back to that.  I'm going to be able to play face to face in games that I enjoy.  Teddy is getting older and is starting to get more interested in role-playing.  We even have a game that's made for his age group - Happy Birthday Robot!  And Pete shouldn't be too far behind him.  If I'm lucky, in about 3 more years, we can start looking for cons again.  And I can start to let my creativity loose without my brain to stop it.