Jonny Nexus

Writing, life, politics

Category: Gaming (page 3 of 3)

General gaming related posts.

Last Night’s Game…

…was virtual.

“Which one of you has got the lowest luck?”

“That’s never a good question for the GM to ask.”

It’s been a while since I last blogged about my Tuesday night game. I initially stopped when I took a blogging holiday, but by time I restarted blogging, it was coming up to my move to Brighton and I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do gaming-wise.

I’d initially thought I could perhaps still attend the game and crash at my parents’ house, but after looking at the timings of trains and buses and so on, I realised that it really didn’t work. And to be honest, much as I like gaming, I didn’t want to spend a night a week away from my wife. (And it wasn’t as though I would be seeing my parents instead, because I’d most likely be arriving home after they’d gone to bed, and then leaving for work before they got up).

Then it occurred to me that perhaps I could do something with Skype, which has a video-phone mode. And the answer is, we could. (That’s my view of things on the left, with TAFKAC looking at “me”, a.k.a. the laptop set up where I would have been sitting.

I discussed it before I left, and we agreed to give it a go. We’ve spent the time since the move checking out various options. £99 spent on a speciallised USB conferencing microphone/speaker for Skype turned out to be money down the drain; the microphone which came free with General Tangent’s Rock Band proved to be better. At that point, with my ears ringing from the hiss of just a half hour test, I was getting a bit worried that it was never going to work. That was why I didn’t blog about it; because if it didn’t work, I’d be depressed enough about not gaming with the guys anymore and the last thing I’d then want to do would be to blog about it.

But General Tangent (with, I think, some suggestions from John) tracked down an alternative microphone and a set of speakers, and when he and I tried a test last Thursday evening it sounded pretty good; good enough that we decided to go for a full gaming session the next Tuesday.

Of course, fate being what it is, my train decided to be 31 minutes late (only the second time it’s ever been more than a couple of minutes late since I moved to Brighton), so we didn’t get going until about eight. But then… well it basically just worked.

I couldn’t say it was quite the same as being there; actual reality has a 3D quality that a flat screen and a non-stereo microphone just don’t capture. (The video, however, helps a lot, since you can see the reactions to what you can say). But the point is that it was a hell of a lot better than not being there, and I’m sure that as time goes on, it will soon seem natural. And given that due to my now rather long commute, I don’t get home until 7:15 each evening, a gaming session that requires no travel and where I can happily eat my diner while playing, if late, is pretty good.

Although I do need to find the mute button. Apparently, the noise from the speakers when I munched on a cracker was slightly distracting.

If The RPG Industry Was A Horror Film…

…this wouldn’t be looking good.

2nd June 2009: Cubicle 7 Joins Rebellion Group.

23rd June 2009: Cubicle 7 – Adamant Entertainment Announce Partnership.

24th June 2009: Cubicle 7 – Postmortem Studios Announce Partnership.

25th June 2009: Cubicle 7 – Boxninja Announce Partnership.

First GMS, then Grim, and now Gregor!

Who’s next?

Probably someone starting with G..?

Hanrahan! Start running now! Don’t look back!

(And of course, seriously, I think Angus is a great bloke. I think Cubicle 7 are going places. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that their Doctor Who RPG is the monster success that they deserve and that roleplaying needs. And I think it’s cool that people are teaming up with them.)

Excavating The Buried Layers Of The Past

Well after two writing sessions in my new “writing office” (a.k.a. the 0700 Thameslink train from Brighton) I can report that it’s pretty much like my last one, save for having a nicer set of views out of the window. (As an aside, when I get a chance, I’ll put up the profile that Writers Forum did of my last “writing office”).

We’re happily settled in to Brighton, and at some point I’ll put up some pictures of our new home town. It’s been a lot of work, but it’s been very worthwhile. Sorting out your stuff while moving feels a lot like archeology: you work your way down through the various periods of your life (the old house, the flat before that, the family home) until somewhere along the way you hit the life equivalent of solid rock – your birth certificate. (Although in my case said birth certificate was immediately on top of a bunch of stuff only a couple of years old. I have no idea how that happened.)

But along the way I uncovered some interesting nuggets from the past. Most of them are now in the many boxes still scattered around the house, and may well surface over the next few weeks. But when I found a D&D character sheet dating from the early 1980s, I thought that was worth scanning there and then, before packing it away.

Why did it interest me so? Well there’s a lot of talk nowadays about “old school roleplaying”, the emphasis of which is usually on recreating the feel of old-style Dungeons & Dragons. Some people play the early forms of game, no-doubt clutching dog-eared twenty-something year old rule books. A group of enthusiasts have created OSRIC, a modern, open clone of the original AD&D 1st Edition rules. And then there’s Castles & Crusades, a stripped down version of 3rd Edition D&D that aims to capture the feel of early 1980s Basic D&D, but with a modern and coherent structure.

But what is it about “old-school roleplaying” that so interests people? After all, by comparison with modern systems such as 4th Edition D&D, older games are inconsistent, incomplete and full of holes. But the proponents of old-school roleplaying argue that it is precisely this looser rules structure that makes them better games to play. A loose rules set which covers only basic, standard actions allows the participants to “free-form” through everything else, producing a rich roleplaying experience that supposedly makes modern rules systems look like a mere board wargame.

But is this true, or are we looking through rose-tinted spectacles when we look at the past? Were our Basic D&D games of the early 1980s really the rich, roleplaying and storytelling experience that the proponents of old-school roleplaying claim?

Which is where my character sheet comes in. Finding it gave me a chance to answer this question. What depth of roleplaying had my 14 year old self come up with when blessed with a loose and free-flowing system? What stories was I telling? What dreams did I dream? Did I have something then that I’ve lost now?

Erm… No. Look at the character sheet to the right. Yes, I present you with: “Hero Heroic the Hero” with his character mottos of: “Hero woz ere” and “Hero rules”.

I have no recollection of this character, although it’s clearly mine, not because it has my name on it (my so-called friends delighted in writing my name on things – books, walls, examination tables), but because I found it in my house and I’m afraid that scrawl really is my writing. I guess there are things in life so terrible (and let’s face it, creating a character called “Hero Heroic the Hero” is seriously terrible) that you either make damn sure to not remember them in the first place, or else plant them so deeply into your memory that only severe trauma or intensive therapy will ever break through the wall that exists between them and you.

I think perhaps that some boxes of old junk and crap are best left unopened.

Hero Heroic the Hero. Dear God. I know I was only 14, but what was I thinking?

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