Since my last post I’ve reached a doldrum, not certain what to do next with my free time.

Giving up RPGs has been a strange choice, and yet not really a choice once I’ve thought about it–I’ve been too busy with other priorities to even feel like playing a game.

Even so, I’ve dug out the old rulebooks, flipped through my 16 or binders of game notes and adventures–the records of RPG campaigns past.

I’m not sure what I’m looking for. What I’m I seeking? Will I start another campaign? do I want to join a group? Or am I mining ideas for fiction?

I don’t know.

I just don’t know.

In the meantime I’ve been devouring fiction–lots of Ken Follet, Cormac McCarthy, and even the first three novels of Gary Gygax’s Gord the Rogue novels. Now I’m reading Stephen King’s The Dark Half. An eclectic choice, I’m sure, to some, but I’m fine with it. I need to read more female authors, however.

Netflix and the DVR have also kept me company. I’ve caught up on some movies I’ve missed. If you like the American Civil War, I recommend The Free State of Jones. The remake of Ghostbusters is a shameful waste of time and a mockery of the original. Suicide Squad was okay. I can watch Star Wars: Rogue One, again and again.

The latest season of The Walking Dead has gotten off to a great start.

Have you seen Strange Things 2?

I binged watched the whole season within two days of its debut. Like many gamers out there I found it entertaining and nostalgic. A great story and plot and a wonderful ending.

At some point near the middle of the season I grew to dislike Mike, because he wanted to keep the newcomer, Max(ine), out of the group. It’s not like their little band was a Boys Only club–they were simply waiting for El to come back.

Okay, they were boys only club until El came along and then they went back to being a Boys Only club after she left.

First Dustin and Lucas wanted her to join, then they gave mixed signals. Then Mike outright told her go away.

What a jerk.

I later changed my mind.

Looking through those old RPG binders brought back a lot of memories. At least a dozen RPG groups I’ve participated in–sometimes as a player, sometimes as a referee–have fallen apart because of one player, just one, who wrecked the experience for everybody else.

So, no, I don’t blame Mike for keeping Max at a distance. I felt a little sorry for her though. Nobody likes to be kept out of the group.  Heck, I’ve even felt pity for Max when El gave her the cold shoulder. But only a little.

See, it’s like this: When you’ve a group that works, that really works, whether you’re 13 or 33, that’s something magical, and you’ll want to hold on to it as long as you can.

Once its gone, its hard to get back.

And it’s gotten harder, in my experience, to cultivate another group. Scheduling is always an issue. Finding players is another. Agreeing on a system? The default in the area seems to be D&D 5e, but there’s a lot of Pathfinder die-hards out there…

Am I willing to make that investment again? Am I willing to put the time in to cultivate another group of friends who enjoy these game?

 

How many dud sessions would I have to tolerate to find (or assemble) a gaming group that works?

And after that happens, can it be maintained?

In light of this, investing time in writing a book or short story seems far more appealing than tabletop gaming…