Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Blaugust 5, 2014 - Dungeons and Dorks

I enjoy playing role-playing games. Sitting around a table with a bunch of friends, a takeaway meal and something nice to drink can be even more fun when directing the actions of an imaginary mercenary wizard, cunning blademaster, drunken dwarf, sinister elf, or gentleman thief as they navigate peril and abandon morality in the hope of a rich reward hidden in the bottom of some forgotten catacomb.

Also enjoyable is taking on the role of the game master/dungeon master/referee, and adjudicating the interactions of the players with their world. Try to pick the fat baron's pocket? Let's see if his zealous bodyguard notices you and crushes your skull like a grape. Charge down the narrow steps to swing your sword at the orcs? Roll to see if you trip and impale yourself. Go wenching in the tavern? Roll for syphilis. I'm sure you get the idea.

I haven't had a game in a little while, since one of the guys moved to Sydney for work and the rest have disappeared back in to whatever putrid demi-planes they may have come from. I have a hundred or so ideas scribbled down on various bits of scrap paper, index cards, .txt files and the like that haven't seen any play, and every now and then I look at them and think about writing down more detail, or plotting out an adventure proper, but then I don't.

I think this is because without an audience of players I lack the motivation and the most important source of inspiration. Role-playing games are collaborative games, and the best material is created with the players in mind and informed by their past actions. For me the best settings are built by starting with a rough outline of the world, the continent, the nation, the region or even just the village, then coming up with a couple of rough ideas of things that might be going on in the background. Then you plonk the player characters down in it and let them break things, then flesh out your initial concepts based on the wreckage.

The social aspect of the hobby is important. It keeps you in touch with friends, giving you a regular time to meet and see each other in person instead of just lobbing lines of text back and forth through the ether. These are friends who understand you, as you share common interests. These are your people, and it is sad to lose touch.

I think about starting another game every now and then, but I really do have a lot of things that need my attention at the moment, and I am a known procrastinator. I'll keep plugging away, clear my to-do list, and then I'll break out my dice again.

1 comment:

  1. I always enjoyed the D&D sessions I had with my (long inactive) group. I was the newcomer, and it was a really great experience being accepted by a bunch of new friends and invited to join in and help tell silly stories (and occasionally set things on fire). I keep on saying I'd be interested in running a group with a low-power 3.5 ruleset (E6 or the like) but I'm a filthy liar and will probably never have the time or motivation to do so.