Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How Dragon Magazine Saved My Life ...

Well ... my gaming life anyway. Allow me to explain:

It just seems to make sense that you should play what you like reading about. I suppose that there are some games that read well but don't play well. But generally speaking if reading about a game gets you excited then it's probably a good bet that you will like playing it. Right? Or am I just fooling myself?

So the other day I'm reading some old Dragon magazines from like 1994. The articles ranged from starting a new campaign to making your liches more "alive". Good stuff. Now to be honest I didn't read much of Dragon in the 90s. But I was pleased to see that Sage Advice was still a regular column, and quite pleased to note new features like First Quest, Bazaar of the Bizarre and other such treats. I'll also admit to being a 1e player fairly exclusively. We raided bits and pieces from 2e, but our games were pretty much all 1e endeavors. And of course Dragon in the 90s was a second edition rag. So anyway, I'm reading through the magazine and really liking what I'm reading. I don't know if it's the style, the articles, the approach, the ads, the comics in the back or what, but I'm really itching to play with these rules. I really like what I'm reading. I mean I'm excited like I haven't been in a long time.

So it strikes me after leaving the park where I was reading (my kids were playing, I was sitting on a bench "supervising") that I haven't even been able to get through the Pathfinder Core book. I mean I've skimmed it, and familiarized myself with it's broad strokes, but I'm just not excited about reading it. I have read an adventure path or two, but no hardbacks. And while I'll admit to the good writing and well constructed nature of PF modules, they just don't make me want to play, or get me excited like these old Dragons have. Now why is that?

Well, I don't think it's rocket science really. I think I like that style of play. I think that those old writers were all First edition players that were now wriing for second. They wrote with a certain type of player in mind and that player was me. Even the purpose behind the articles, what the magazine was trying to bring to it's readership was right up my alley.

Which has really thrown me for a loop. This happens to me over and over again. I decide to compromise only to later change my mind. I am simply not going to be happy unless I get back to what I really like to play. I've been fooling myself by arguing that the past is gone and everyone else is playing other stuff. So the hell what? I mean it's all kind of pointless if you aren't having fun, right? I said that too. And when it comes right down to it that's what's most important.

We played PF two Thursdays ago and are due to play another session this Thursday. It wasn't bad, but I find myself constantly questioning what I'm doing, and I can see that the players are sort of uncertain about my approach. I'm trying to "old school" the game a bit, and I can tell the more experienced players are raising their eyebrows more than usual. The last time I played PF with them (over a year ago), we played pretty much RAW. Now we are not quite playing RAW; and my house rules keep expanding. I'm trying to make the game my own, add my own spedazzle. But who am I really helping here? I'm not completely happy because I'm trying to twist a game to fit my style, and the players aren't happy because they were told this is a PF game and they aren't exactly getting what they were promised. That's not good GMing. Heck it's not even good playing.

This has been eating at my subconscious for the last two weeks. I've largely ignored it, but have you noticed that I'm writing less on my blog? I've also read next to no gaming books for the past two weeks, and that is a little unusual for me. It was all good I kept telling myself. I'm just changing with the hobby; it's been long overdue. So what if the books don't excite me, at least I'm playing again. Right? ... Right.

Or is it? It wasn't really until I picked up those old Dragon magazines and started reading through them that it smacked me in the ace. Right now I feel like writing a personal thank you to each one of those authors for helping me to light my fire again. To remind me what I'm all about when it comes to gaming.
Right now? I'm at my daughter's Halloween piano recital, blogging about gaming on my IPad; and underneath my IPad? you probably guessed. Issues 225, 226, and 227 of Dragon magazine. Yep. And I'm so excited about cracking them open and starting to read them for the first time that I can hardly finish this blog entry. I keep writing because I'm excited about blogging about gaming again! Gaming I know, gaming I love.

Oh, and by the way. Yes I did stop blogging when my daughter was playing. Even took pictures. I'm a geek, but I'm not a total idiot.

Game on friends.


Anonymous said...

Well, I have fun old schooling PF, but my players are, for the most part, rules lazy and wouldn't know RAW if it spit in their face...
That and I announced about "we'll be doing this old school" and all had fun, even if there was a lot higher mortality rate than ever before in my games (Even when I used to master 1E, I used to master like a whuss... I blame the Internet! That didn't really exist back then...)
BUT, and that's the thing, you have to do what works for you. Don't compromise in gaming too much, and don't forget your own fun. As a DM you will always have the most work, it's only fair you should have real fun, and not feel compelled to do things you don't really like. Because, if you are having fun, the players will normaly have fun, too, and vice-versa.

Chris said...

Hey thanks R. You're right. I know it's possible to old school the newer games; my brother is doing it with 4e. And his players are game--sorta. My players are much more dubious about it.

And you're right--gotta have fun.

ADD Grognard said...

Good deal.

I'm drowning in o was a race to see which was going to show up first but Elder Sign beat the Pathfinder box so it has been all about some HP Lovecraft...appropriate too, what with the holiday and all.

Now It'll be between RuneBound and Dungeoneer for next arrivals.

(whispers) and don't tell anybody, but that AD&D thing but...ME TOO! :)

Drance said...

Hey man, we all get burnt out sometimes, as evidenced by my own recent posts:

Chris said...

Who even knows anymore, right? Just game hard and game well.

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