Archive for December 2010

Wednesday December 29, 2010-Getting in the Mood to Get it On

December 30, 2010

Earlier in the week, I mentioned that I had to start getting ready to play my Star Wars campaign.  Well, I have sent out a few bland emails to the players and opened up the armoire to pull out all my game notes.  Then I started surfing the old document files in the computer.  Sure thing, ideas that I had eight weeks ago have plopped back into my head.  Unfortunately, they just sat there in gelatin.  There was no juices flowing, no ideas simmered, or sizzled, it was like throwing tofu into a vegetable melody-there was just no meat. 

Apparently, I was not in the Star Wars mood.

This is not a good state of mind to be in when you want to work on Star Wars; fortunately, I am fairly aware of myself, with good idea of my strengths and weaknesses.  Most people would suggest going to source materials (the movies) to put you into the mood, that is sort of a hit or miss for me.  I have already watched all the movies so many times that I lose focus when watching.  The movies impact me about as much as Happy Days reruns.  I know it is a crying shame to admit it, but it is true.  Essentially, I have to be in a Star Wars mood to draw anything out of them.  I am not even going to mention books or video games as source material, lets for this blog, consider that they have the same effect.  I could move more into the abstract, start thinking about underlining themes, mythos, and game mechanics.  You know, what it means to be a Jedi?  What is the story structures used in Star Wars?  What game mechanics should I use to gain the greatest effect?  That has worked well with me in the past, but that is more inspirational.  The abstract approach is what I use to start campaigns and I am very strong with that.  There is also a big negative that comes from the abstract approach, changing things up too much and too quickly.  Don’t fix what is not broken.   l am willing to wait until next week to draw upon that approach if something doesn’t click this week.  After all, I still got some time. 

I think I will use this opportunity to push my one GMing weakness; description.  Having been a visual artist and dyslexic all my life, words are not my friends.  Before spell-check, they were my nemesis.   I always feel I need to work on verbal description during actual play, but where do you get the skill building experience? You have to be playing.  Is there some way you can practice, widening your neuropathways just a little; so, when you are playing, there is a better chance for that cogitative leap? I don’t know, but I am willing to try something.  Why not now?  Could by pulling on all your Star Wars understanding, filtering them through specific events, and purposely writing a description both help your verbal skills at the gaming table and get you in the mood for the game?  When I put it that way, it sounds like a win/win situation; but lets us be realistic, if it gets me in the mood to get it on; it is still a good win.

Pete

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Wednesday December 29, 2010-The Autumn Years for RPG Podcasts

December 29, 2010

I have been listening to podcasts for about two years now; about 50% of those are RPGs topics.  I have a dozen listed in “my favorites” that I check compulsively every day.  Because podcasters post their episodes whenever they feel like it, you end up acting like a Pavolvain dog who doesn’t want to miss their opportunity for a dog treat.  Having listened for a while to these amateur shows, one can notice trends in their behavior.  You can gain a glimpse at the bigger picture and a deeper understanding of those who are broadcasting.  What I have noticed over the last few months is that many seem to be losing their entertainment value, becoming a little floppish. 

 This has led me to wonder; what is the lifespan of an average RPG podcast?  Surprisingly, nothing comes up when you google that.  So, I did a small survey of the podcast that are listed in my favorites, based on how long they have been casting; and the results are rather inconclusive.  However, when I cross reference on focused game system, there was one that did pop up: D&D, D20, Wizards of the Coast.  Hummmm, could it be that the podcast is directly related to the gaming trends?  Is the D&D podcasting and the game itself entering their Autumn period?  Something to keep your eye on.

Some Joker Turned it Back on Itself

December 28, 2010

So, it is just a few days after Christmas and a few more till the beginning of a new decade, which means that I have only two things on my mind.  First, is that I have to start reviving my Star Wars Group after the holiday break.  Second, I have just a few days to accomplish my “new decade resolutions” that I made back in 2000.  Honestly, I do not know which one will be a greater mistake down the line, let alone how difficult.  They both really have the same hurdle to get over; which is me.

You see, I am a bit of a planner.  I make plans and have plans.  I am fine as long as everything is going according to the plan.  The problem you have, as a planner, is that you have to figure out where to begin a project, which takes a plan.  However, to make that plan, you need to have some idea on how you want to begin the project, which is what the initial plan was supposed to figure out.  You know better than to get yourself into a vicious circle on those plans, but you sort of now need a plan to figure out the direction of the project, so you can have that ruff idea where to start, so you can act on the plan that will tell you where to begin.  After you have planned all that out, you realize that you almost have a full plan, which is great; you might be able to start the project.  The new issue is that you just have not planned out that middle part.  You are so close to having a full plan now that you really don’t want to start it until you get it completely.   Having a full plan makes everything easy and comfortable; so much so that you start thinking it is not worth doing until you get the full plan.  Ironically the pre-plan and beginning plan is intended to help you plan the middle part to get to the end plan, but that is too much unknown for the plan to be perfect.  By now you have convinced yourself that it will take a perfect plan to succeed and what you have is not perfect.  So, why bother, just chuck the project on the back shelf.

Of course, you can chuck the plan and just do.