Saturday, August 23, 2014

Slow Week(s) for Gaming

Okay, I think I have resigned myself to these updates being bi-weekly or monthly, I find these helpful (for myself), but have plenty of other things to write about (clearly), so this will keep coming, but infrequently.

So, last weekend was Gen Con, which, as a severe introvert, I will never attend. Seriously, how can anyone stand to be in a place with that many people in close proximity? A side-effect of this, of course, is that all of the non-agoraphobic gamers I know were in Indianapolis, and thus not here to game with. It didn't stop the rest of us from playing, of course...

Recommended Blog Reading:

There has, of course, been a lot of coverage about Gen Con and the 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons, but there is so much of it, I hardly have the time to sift through the cruft for useful posts, so I will leave that to you. One blog post, completely unrelated to either of those topics, did jump out at me recently, so I'll leave you with that.

Witches, Warlocks, and Deal-making:
M. Diaz, over on Gloomtrain, made an interesting post about deals made by warlocks, as translated into random tables. My reasons for liking this are (1) it more random tables are always useful, even if repurposed for something completely different, and (2) it reminds me of an idea I had many years ago regarding "witches" (same thing as a warlock right?) and their need to make contracts. It's an interesting concept which I feel like I should revisit at some point. Gloomtrain has a number of other useful gems hiding in his posts (especially if you play LotFP). You should check it out if its not already in your feed.


On the Evolutionary Importance of Play
Next Nature, which is among my favorite non-gaming-specific blogs, posted this interesting analysis of the importance of "fun" throughout the animal kingdom and why scientists who study play in animals are sadly never taken seriously. While the overall concept is relevant to avid gamers, one thought from this could have truly epic impact on how one designs game-world cosmologies:
"If one wants a consistently materialist explanation of the world—that is, if one does not wish to treat the mind as some supernatural entity imposed on the material world, but rather as simply a more complex organization of processes that are already going on, at every level of material reality—then it makes sense that something at least a little like intentionality, something at least a little like experience, something at least a little like freedom, would have to exist on every level of physical reality as well."

What I've Been Playing:

One Group, Much Chaos
Last time, I wrote about the many strange games that my regular Sunday group has had running in tandem. Even without Gen Con, the last month has been chaotic, as summer is wont to be, and this group has been all over the place. I missed once due to some traveling and home renovation (laying new hardwood floors in my living room). The next week I was forced to wax poetic about the death of fellow PC. The following week no one else showed up, so I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy instead (good movie, but I'm not here to write about movies, so I'll leave it at that).

This past week, we got running again, but our primary GM for the last couple of months is off on his way to Princeton Theological Seminary to pursue his MDiv, leaving yet another game dangling. So, we put it to a vote, threw out the two that I was sick of running, and spun up a new party running in my Ruins of Adventure setting (this makes party #3, one PbM, one G+, and now a face-to-face game). You should be seeing some snippets of their adventures soon.

Gen Con Losses:
My "Bitter Blades" G+ group finally finished their forays to Thorn Island this month. Since then, though, they've been mostly MIA, with half the group going to Gen Con, and the rest scattering to other conventions and events (a few will be out this weekend for OSRCon Toronto as well), so we have not played since. There have been some intermittent posts concerning recruiting a new PC, dividing up loot, and planning for their next adventure, but being down a game for three weeks has me, well, down. The further adventures of this group will be updated once we get running again.

Playing by Email:
The third (or first) Ruins of Adventure party continues to press onwards to Melvaunt. Earlier this month they laid waist to a band of raiding kobolds, since then things have slowed down and they have been experimenting with democracy (which is a horrible way for small groups to make decisions).

Hopefully everyone will be back to more standardized schedules, and thus more standardized gaming, now that the new school year has started.