Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Play’s The Thing

This past weekend marked the fifth year of our friends and family event, Ultracon. A good portion of the year two other DM’s and I work on a collaborative adventure. One which will accommodate up to eighteen players over the course of two days. This year we re-skinned the classic D&D module, S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. I plan to write another blog post with details and pictures, but suffice to say the event was a blast. Crashed spaceship and lasers? Roll initiative!

In the evening we had after hours gaming and I ran DCC RPG using Black Powder, Black Magic by Stormlord Publishing. I used the zero level funnel in volume one, The Devil’s Cauldron and everyone enjoyed it. It was at the very moment I realized just looking around the room how much I enjoy actually PLAYING these games. As an adult with a ridiculous schedule it’s very easy to lose track of how much fun the RPG hobby is.

I can count on two hands the amount of times we gathered for a game session in the past year. Most of the gamers in my circle have kids, crazy work hours, and just family life in general. I’m definitely counted among one of those with the wackiest of schedules. Ultimately this is why our event Ultracon is so important, as it gathers us all for a short period of time. That said, I can see the same sentiment being shared by attendees of Gen Con this past week. Reconnecting with old friends and enjoying the timeless pastime of RPGs is invigorating.

So who else is left with wanting more? I personally have been filling the gaming void with DIY publishing and blogging over the years. It really has scratched that itch to play for me and served as a great creative outlet. But after every Ultracon I realize that it’s really just a band aid, a dice tower to contain that d20 just wishing to roll across the table. I have even purchased more OSR products then I can ever use as my gaming library is massive. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy all of these publications and admire the work of the amazing OSR community. In the end through, all this reading throughout the year is just another distraction. A good one, but a distraction.

I plan to try and game more often in the future. Because nothing replaces gathering around the table, wooden or virtual, to enjoy an RPG. I often wonder when I read the plethora of blog posts every week if other people are suffering the same fate. Everyone seems to be talking about gaming, but how many are actually playing? If you are counted among those living vicariously through watching other people play, or reading about it, make a change.

Sure everyone’s circumstances are different, and schedules don’t fit neatly in a box. But with a little effort you may be able to help organize more game sessions, whatever your favorite RPG may be. Social media alone is riddled with players looking to connect and gather for a game. Or you may not have to look further then your own friends and family.

I purposefully named this blog post The Play’s The Thing. Shakespeare's plays were created first with performance in mind. For the uninitiated, they first existed on the stage well before ever existing on the page. In my opinion reading Shakespeare is far duller then experiencing it. The same can be said for RPGs, which ultimately are a collaborative story telling performance. Whatever your strategy may be, make it happen and roll more dice, because nothing replaces actually playing the game!