Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Bittersweet Nights of Gaming
This post isn't about any particular session, so much as it's about that exhilarating rush we feel at the gaming table... and knowing the game must end at some point. Just as bittersweet as nostalgia, it's awesome to remember the good old days, but, at the same time, it must be acknowledged that those days are gone.
I took a group of 6 players through B4: The Lost City last night using the Swords & Wizardry retro-clone RPG. It was a local, face-to-face meetup for those who have either never played a paper and pencil roleplaying game before or those who haven't played in many years. It was a great experience, and a fun time for all. Three hours into it, we were getting up from the library's special reserved room and saying goodbye to each other, goodbye to the step-pyramid of Cynidicea, goodbye to gaming for who knows how long.
"Well, there wasn't enough time, Michael. There just wasn't enough time."
This Saturday is going to be the last session of the campaign. The cap to six months of weekly to semi-weekly gaming. As some readers may know, this campaign galloped on the heels of my second child's birth. My wife was kind enough to let me start gaming again after only a couple months of sleepless nights and constant attention.
And those first sessions would determine if I ever gamed again. You see, I had become increasingly burned-out by roleplaying over the years. Something got lost... maybe it was my gaming style or focus or the fundamentals had slipped through my fingers. Fourth edition D&D definitely did not easy my gaming malaise.
Half a year ago, I took up the Dungeon Master mantel yet again with my old school gaming primer in hand and my head full of psychedelic Erol Otus eldritch science fantasy neo-nostalgia, as well as, visions of dancing sugarplum fairies with vorpal scimitars +3. Luckily, the OSR did me just fine. I was a new man and gamer.
Yet, all that gaming took its toll. The scheduling and logistics - agonizing over who could be there, making sure everyone had transportation, food/drink. Sometimes there were too few, a couple times there were too many... one night almost turned into a drunken brawl. My wife complained about never seeing me on Saturday nights.
It needed to end, or, rather, it needed an ending. The campaign should have a final chapter, I thought. A conclusion. And then a short break from gaming, followed by more gaming of a different sort. You see, I also don't want to get burned out on fantasy - even the weird fantasy of sword, sorcery, spaceships, lasers, and Lovecraft.
So, I'll be going OSR circa 1992. Yes, back when I was a Junior in High School, playing and running Vampire: the Masquerade on a regular basis. Joy Division, lots of black ten-sided dice with dark red numbering, and riffing off cinematic bloodsucker classics like The Lost Boys, Near Dark, Fright Night, Sub-Species, Interview with the Vampire, Dracula, and Nosferatu.
Don't worry though, I'll still be blogging. And my OSR mega-dungeon Liberation of the Demon Slayer is still being self-published by the end of August. Hopefully, I'll be back playing D&D (more like a cross between Dungeon Crawl Classics and Swords & Wizardry) in September. Who knows, maybe my wife will even let me run games twice a week!?! Not going to hold my breath. ;)
"We'll get there, Pop. We'll get there."