Regimes win again!!!
I get to thinking about the Internet/table top RPG intersection somewhat often. It's interesting because in many ways it answers a lot of wishes I had when I was a kid and had time to game all the time - namely, in theory anyway, always being connected to other people and therefore able to 'game' all the time, or whenever you wanted.
When I finally got a stable internet connection a while back and was able to relax into the net and do idle searching and such things, gaming cropped up quick. I was amazed at the creative wealth and vitality, inquiry and general thoughtfulness, etc - the whole bundle. So, naturally, I had to investigate what it was like to play games on the Internet - here was this 'dream come true' technology come true.
Jumped into Alexis' blog game and also a Yahoo group Warhammer game run by Noisms. I started running a game at the Trollbridge, and a (rough and) brief experiment in high level generic D&D-ish play, brief games with Vedron of the potion shoppe, jumped into A long-running game of Snorri's for a minute - tried to use the blog to help write a solo module. So there was the act of gaming, but also it became clear that the web allowed for amazing feats of collaborative work. I feel like an unfrozen caveman in writing that down, it seems like such a no duh thing - but anyway, I was just pretty stunned by the scopes and the scales of possibilities. So I started trying to translate Epées & Sorcellerie from Google english. Got to help compose some the monster tables in the Swords & Wizardry Monster Book, that was fun! Speaking of fun, does anyone remember the rush, the total creative burst, when Snorri dropped Delver of the Unknown on the OD&D board? That was a totally beautiful thing to watch IMO. There's amazing, persistent projects all over the place - the Dragonsfoot project placing encounters on the rest of the D1 underworld map - OSRIC players handbook and Danger Dungeons! - magazines and ezines - the links of wisdom wiki - etc etc etc - again I feel like a caveman...
So, anyway, I think about this stuff and my experience has been mixed (likely the case with most ongoing, consistent elements of one's life). The balance weighs more on the positive side, though I wonder if I got a bad rep from my actions in Alexis' game, or from my initial enthusiasm for a project slowing to an off-putting pace - I wonder if I let my Trollbridge game devolve into tedium for the players, things like that. It is sometimes hard to read people, or be read by people, over the computer, to get a sense of who they are or whatever.
Now I am starting to get back into projects. The other thing about the Internet is the (assumed) persistence of it ('assumed' like assuming the sun will rise tomorrow, assuming that it did today... I suppose the Internet could disappear tomorrow...). The main frustration of gaming by blog/post/email/etc seems to be the pace. So it seems to make sense to play games that are intentionally slowly paced.
While I'm at the total navel-gazing thing, one thing that keeps occurring to me is that I don't buy or read very much by way of products being released. An example is Mythemere's Adventure Design Deskbook. (It was actually Fitz's post that got me thinking about this tonight). It looks like precisely the kind of book I would really get a lot out of, one of my favorite kinds of game aids - but I haven't gotten it. So why? Granted, I'm not in much of a position to buy everything I want to, but that's not expensive, and the fact is that I have picked up old material that I used to have or always wanted to (Jesis! I wanted Monsters Monsters! for 30 years! I had to get it!). I've found that I keep myself away from a lot of the products that have made an impact in the last few years with the internet ol' school gang, and I think the reason is this: my work is already really derivative. Like really - when I write adventure material or setting material or something and look back at it, I see B1. There's the ogre's cave from B2 outside of the "home base" (which reminds me of little more than Hommlet...). So, I'm making this sound like it was an intentional decision on my part, and I don't think that it was. It's a weird dialectic to be really moved by the material being produced and also a little leery of it... ugh.
Anyway - yah. Looks like I need to lighten up!
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