Alas the table routed

Our “game table” was routed a few months back by fear inspiring foes – work, family, life, and fatigue. Like an odd re-hash of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, this quartet of anti-roleplaying horrors took our group to pieces (well to individuals really, but hey). Here is a rambling post of thoughts.

All the players have challenging situations to incorporate into our rpg lives, and while I’m mad keen to get some face to face roleplaying done, I find it nigh on impossible to get a consistent day per week or fortnight where I can play guilt free. The other players all have children added into the mix, so their lives are doubly complex.

How do regular gamers do it?

Negotiation seems to be the order of the day. If we can get consistency amongst the group for a regular game, then we might get some value. There are a lot of barriers.

Playing too infrequently means that we spend most of the session socialising rather than gaming. It also means that we have such a long break between sessions that only the most dedicated can remember the details of the game. Who did what to the NPC? Why are we on the ship? Which toon is the creepy guy playing in this game? Bleeerk, its all lost if we go 2-3 weeks between sessions. I think you really need to be playing regularly to get a consistently good result.

The (not so) funny thing is that I see this in online games too. You need a consistent set of players to make substantial progress in raiding games. Every change in the line-up, each switch in player means something is lost and the group has to re-learn the interaction. In a computer game this has less impact, as the characters are “hired” for a particular set of roles, and we have distinctive tools to measure performance.

In an RPG though there is the added twist to the change of line-up of the personal face time. A new person is an unknown. Nobody will play the same when fresh meat is added to the table. The group has to normalise again, the balance is shifted, and the power dynamics change significantly – so that it can turn the game itself into a different game. The feel can be greatly changed overnight.

I guess the solution for us is to wait until the Horsemen ride on to other tables, and we can regroup. You can’t force time where there is none. We can’t ignore family to entertain ourselves, and we should never sacrifice work for a neat rpg session. Damn it.

Till then, I’ll ponder all sorts of things slowly changing in the rpg world. It is a quiet news month in terms of impact of the industry changes affecting my rpg hobbies. Not much released, and nothing substantive changing at the moment. It feels like the in-between stretch of the year where we are re-grouping from financial year’s end; and not quite ready for the malarky of the holiday seasons.

Happy gaming

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