Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Aging With The Hobby

The thing about lying low online for a bit and returning is the gift of perspective. You check out the usual haunts, and oftentimes the same folks are having the same arguments about the same topics as they were in 2006, or 2008, or 2011. Sometimes, folks have moved on, and the faces change. Quite often, though, if message board and blog posts weren't dated, you'd be hard-pressed to guess the year.

As I've gone from a 20-something Air Force guy expecting his first kid to a civilian guy with three children, a wife of 12 years, and an age dangerously approach more the mid than early 30s, my style of gaming--and involvement has changed. Time is more precious, gaming sessions harder to coordinate with a group that's stretching out and doing some growing of their own.

Perhaps most importantly, I find that my tolerance for and interest in new gaming systems is much, much lower than it once was. I don't have time to learn a plethora of new games, and I am becoming ever more aware of a shelf of RPGs that I already probably will never have time to run full campaigns for.

That's not self-pity, mind; I'm also much happier with what I currently have. Fantasy? There's Castles & Crusades, Pathfinder, Rolemaster Classic, and Palladium Fantasy. Space/Sci-Fi? Mongoose/Classic Traveller, Stars Without Number, and StarCluster 3. Supers? FASERIP and ICONS. That's not even getting into Rifts, Two-Fisted Tales, or numerous retro-clone games...

In essence, what this does is raise the bar immensely for any new game to be added to the collection. That's not to say it doesn't happen; Stars Without Number certainly blew me away, as it has a number of folks in my gaming circle. And there's always rediscovering old favorites, such as my recent joyful reunion with Palladium Fantasy 1e. Plus, there are always new posts and new resources that don't need a new RPG to be enjoyed...
You complete me. 

Remember what I said about perspective? You can apply that to games. The umpteenth time you've seen the same "revolutionary" claims about a gaming system, you tend to disregard it. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me for the forty-seventh time...

Happily, as the players of any number of RPGs will tell you, the great thing about this hobby is whether you're going in for the new flavor of the week, or sticking with the same system you've had since '85, there's always something to discuss. And some of those discussion repeat themselves, because they're just fun to have. We like complaining about crazy rules or company meltdowns, the same as we like swapping lies about our characters, or looking at a new way to handle an old problem.

I guess my point is, my participation in the hobby isn't as gonzo as before, but that doesn't mean I'm not enjoying it. I'm concentrating more now on what I have than acquiring what I don't, and part of that is me realizing over the years (because I am apparently learning-impaired), that simply taking time to enjoy what I have instead of constantly looking for the Next Big Thing is pretty important.

I've been truly blessed both in and outside of this hobby. I have my faith, my awesome family, a job and a half, and hobbies ranging from racing to history. Finding the way that my gaming hobby can fit within that has been challenging at times, but no less rewarding for all of that.

In any case, I suppose that's a snapshot of where I am these days. That's not a moratorium on checking on what's new, but a certain better-late-than-never recognition that there's very little new under the sun, and that what I already have serves me pretty well indeed. I might be a knucklehead for taking so long for that light bulb to come on, but at least I'm a happy one.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'd like to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to the readers and gamers out there. I'm put in mind today of how thankful I am for all the awesome discussions, insights, and resources so many of you have provided over the years. The gaming hobby is a roller coaster, especially as we get older, but it's fantastic to have that common experience to discuss and potentially improve. Whether you celebrate the American date of Thanksgiving or not, may you have much to be thankful for!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Palladium Fantasy 1e: Quick Thoughts & A Character Sheet

I've recently been revisiting the Palladium Fantasy RPG 1st edition, which has been an absolute blast. For the uninitiated, PFRPG 1e was one of the first games Palladium made, and existed before the later "Megaversal" rules adjustment that 2nd edition introduced. In short, many feel it is a game with a little less baggage, one that's a bit simpler, cleaner, and does some neat things in terms of things such as viable humanoid character races, interesting takes on combat, and of course some of the early diverse magic options that made Palladium Fantasy so interesting. It's also a much deadlier, more lethal game than its eventual successor. 

The great thing is it's still pretty easy to either find a nice copy online via Amazon or another retailer, and RPGNow also has all the books for the line. With that in mind, over at theRPGsite, there's been a thread that's reading through the PFRPG 1st edition book, and it's been a lot of fun to really go over the content and philosophy of the game.

In any case, there's a lack of solid character sheet options for the game out there, so I created a basic one-page character sheet for those interested. You can download the Palladium Fantasy 1e character sheet here.