Monday, October 17, 2011

The State Of The Gamer, October 17, 2011

I never intended for things to lie fallow here for so long.  This is largely going to be a post where I try to explain what's been going on and maybe figure out where things are going moving forward, for myself as a gamer and as a blogger of gaming stuff.

From a creative standpoint, and from anything resembling a happy person standpoint, I pretty much lost the entirety of August, September, and a good chunk of October.  I've alluded to work issues and that's been the big killer of time and producer of stress.  At one point, I was seriously considering finding a new job (not a small consideration given I've spent over a quarter of my life with this employer).  Fortunately, things have eased up, I was able to take a lengthy vacation, and I'm feeling much better about my current situation and the future.

Unfortunately, my gaming self suffered a lot during that time.  I missed out on GenCon, which has been a big source annual energy renewal.  My Saturday game for newbies hasn't met since early August, as my son loves to point out.  Our Tuesday game continues (we're back on Pathfinder), but I haven't been particularly engaged with it lately.  I need to correct that.  The occasional Sunday 4e game hasn't met in about a month due to scheduling conflicts.

And during this time, thanks to stress, I've been bouncing around between inspiration sources harder than usual.  One of my problems has always been the way my creative energies get hijacked by outside influences.  It makes it very hard for me to stay focused on one thing, because something else comes along and steals my attention.  This is one reason I always avoid "Sell Me On" threads over on RPGnet, because I've had existing plans come to a grinding halt due to my reading of two or three posts gushing about this game or that.

(Over the years, my psyche has developed a certain amount of coping skills to help me deal with this phenomenon.  Possibly the oddest is that I'll often find I've tailored my diet to match a particular obsession.  This is particularly obvious when I'm in a Feng Shui mood, and I realize I've eaten Chinese for lunch six days in a row.)

When the obsession is on, it's usually very ON, and nothing can easily dislodge it (for a few weeks, anyway).  When I get over one of my Fantasy periods, I'm inevitably confronted with a large stack of comics I've purchased but haven't read.  When I get out of others, there are always a couple of stray books lying around (physically or on my Kindle) I bought to feed the mania, but didn't quite get around to reading.  The problem is when the inspiration/interest is tenuous.  Then I bounce around from one shiny object to another, often seemingly at random.

And that, in a nutshell, is where I've been creativity-wise for the past two and a half months.  Blowing on the wind.  One day, it's superheroes, the next day it's 17th century France, the day after that, it's werewolves, then back to superheroes, no wait, fantasy, except I can't do that because of Kung Fu movies, oh look, Westerns!

(It was particularly bad last week when I was out in my garage sorting my comics collection while watching a bunch of Spaghetti Westerns on DVD.  Talk about your clash of influences.)

Yeah, Westerns have actually been a big part of the interest pile lately.  During the lead up to the project from hell, I finished re-reading Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove.  At the same time, I started walking on the advise of my doctor and found that a half hour episode of "Gunsmoke" (the old time radio series) is a great way to pass the time while trekking around the neighborhood.  As a result, Western and Western-ish game ideas are getting a lot of play in my head.  Unfortunately, it's a hard sell.  My Tuesday group already has something Western-ish for our secondary game, and I'm not sure I want to run something heavy on the alt-history, which is a turn off for a lot of folks.

So, the long and short of it is, I'm still in a point of creative congestion.  Hopefully, as things return to normal on the work front, I can try and normalize things on my creative front.  I've got a couple of OwlCon rounds to figure out, so I may do one of them as a straight-up Western, just to scratch the itch.  I've got an invite to a new D&D group that's close to my house that I'm going to check out next weekend.*  And hopefully, I can get things rolling with my home 4e game again before too much more of the year gets away.

In the meantime, my next few updates may be a bit scattershot, as I just try to get something out of my head and onto the screen.

*Incidentally, if anyone has advice for building a level 23 Epic Cleric for 3.5, I'd appreciate the input.  Apparently, this is an intentionally mega-high power game.


  1. The Cleric, in my opinion, should have his title be ________ the Warpriest, and should be able to smite anyone he wants. In all seriousness, in Chapter 12 of the Pathfinder Core Rulebook, there are suggestions for characters past level 20. They'll probably be semi-compatible (if not fully) compatible with 3.5.

  2. Most of those are fairly conceptual rather than numbers and hard and fast rules. I've pulled out and reloaded my old copy of eTools (the 3rd ed character builder) and am working my way through it.

    I figure by 23rd level, my character should be Pope of something, right?

  3. The Pope of Chili Town, perhaps?

    I always know I'm more stressed than usual when my interests start sliding around like quicksilver.

    "I'm not sure I want to run something heavy on the alt-history, which is a turn off for a lot of folks."

    I can't figure out why this is. I've pitched purely or mostly historical campaigns in the past and have been met with reluctance as well. I mean, are people really that hung-up on wanting to play wizards and ninjas all the time?

  4. Consider making a Doomdreamer. They have more pluses.

  5. I was wondering how the newbie game was going. This is too bad.

    I hope your 3.5 invite goes well and you have a good time. I never played 3.5, but I am enjoying Pathfinder with my Wednesday group, and from what I understand they are roughly equivalent.