Sourcing the Kinetic Vector

A note first thing:  this is post 481, so if you do the math, it seems that in something like two-and-a-half weeks, I’ll be hitting post five hundred.  That means what, exactly?  Well, we’ll see.  I’ve usually posted something important at different levels of posting awesomeness, and I’m fairly certain I’ll do something at post five hundred.

Maybe I’ll give something away–like my soul!  Any takers?

I’ve been up for a while.  As I write this, it’s 10:30, and that makes it four hours since I crawled out of bed.  The mood when I got up?  Not good.  I need to return to The Undisclosed Location today, and I’m feeling like I have a weight on my shoulders I can’t lose.  There is not one ounce of enthusiasm for returning–not one.

That’s kept me a little down, and what do I do when I’m down?  That’s right:  I read.  Mostly, I’ve been reading about space weapons.

Now, why would I do that?  For some reason I find comfort in the numbers, the math behind why things go boom.  It might also have something to do with my dream last night, which found me in a real-life version of Breaking Bad, and I was in Mexico buying machineguns and meth cooking supplies for Mr. Heisenberg.  Really, it doesn’t get any more messed up than that, particularly when I was shooting some punk on the street with an MP-5 because he was giving me shit about something.

It seems pretty logical, then, that I started looking at information about things like nukes in space, and kinetic kill weapons, and missiles, and just about anything else that has to do with blowing things up and space, and how I might apply that information to a story, any story.

For some reason, working the information around in my mind, and seeing how I could work it into a story, has made me feel better.  Call me strange, call me unusual, but research gets me going some times.  I think it’s because my mind is working, thinking, acting, and I’m not sitting here like a lump mumbling, “Damn, I’m bored.  I wish I had something to do.”

Someone told me earlier this morning that I need a hobby.  I did have a hobby:  it was gaming.  But I don’t do a lot of that these days–I don’t do it period, actually.  Gaming seems to have passed me by these days, only because I don’t have a group to work with anymore, and the ones that are out there would rather sing and dance like happy elves.

Did all this research lead to anything?  No, not actually.  As much as I might have wanted to come up with another idea, I didn’t get one.  Not that I needed it, because I’ve got ideas galore right now, and another would have only taken up more room on the hard drive.

But one never knows where it might lead.  It’s there in my head, and it’s waiting for something to happen.

It’s only a matter of time before it crawls out of a hole and begins dancing about.

In the Cold Kanvian Rain

It’s been raining here for most of the night.  Not one of those downpour-type rains where it’s pounding against the house, but rather one of those steady drizzles that maintain their constancy and volume through the day and night.

And it’s also chilly outside; it was down in the 40’s last night and it’s going to be like mid-50’s with a lot of wind today.  It’s dark, it’s crummy . . . so what else comes to mind but–

Gaming.

Oh, yeah.  I know you thought I was gonna say something else, but no: gaming came to mind.  In particular, the title of this point relates back to a game I ran so very long ago, and that makes me think about something else . . . no, not sex–

Writing.

Allow me to elucidate.

For the longest time I’ve been a gamer.  It really all started in 1974 with war gaming, but 12 years later I was getting into role playing.  It wasn’t long after that I started running games–or “GMing” for you non-gamer types–and I quickly discovered that if you wanna have a good game, you have to learn to get inventive and imaginative pretty damn fast.

I also learned that when you spend 6 hours with 4 or 5 other people, all of whom are coming up with all sorts of crack-pot shit about what they want their characters to do, and you’re trying to keep of that while remembering where you had their characters go and who their character ran into, I had to figure out a way to keep all this straight in my mind.

Thus began the creation of my game logs.

I needed these to keep my own sanity, because I knew somewhere along the line one of my players would say something like, “Oh, yeah, my character got that Warhammer from so-and-so, and it already came with that Ultimate Badness Weapon.”  And naturally, if I didn’t have any way to disprove his claim, I could find myself in a situation where I’d spend most of an hour arguing that fact.

With my log, however, I could just go to the computer, pull up the session where said player got the Warhammer (it’s a mech, Jim) and tell the player, “No, you’re wrong.  See?  You got the Normal Crappy Weapons, so sit down and be happy.”

My game logs became something more than just a way of seeing what happened.  Because I didn’t want bore myself with a lot of cold, hard facts, I tried to write my logs in a way that were, shall we say, entertaining?  Now, sure: I would be the only one looking at them, but why not be a little inventive when describing the sort of crazy hell that is a role playing session?  I mean, if you’re a writer, you gotta entertain yourself as well as your audience, right?

And while I was writing I decided to extend that into the world of the characters.  During the 2 1/2 year run of my MechWarrior game I wrote 6 articles by one Winslow Duke, who had a very unique outlook on life, politics, and war in that particular 31st Century universe.  When I ran Cyberpunk for nearly the same amount of time I was always doing little writeups for the players, giving their characters a bit of a personalized window the events of the world.

And when things started moving more onto the Internet, my logs went there as well.

Eventually I started running a couple of games based off 0f TV shows, Farscape and Serenity.  Both these games had established online communities, and as I wrote up my logs I began posting them for others to see.  Why?  Because I wanted people to see what I was doing, but also because I wanted to entertain.  By this time my logs were getting more detailed, but they were turning more into semi-stories than simple explanations of what had happened during a game.

There was some great writing in my logs, and I feel it helped me at the time learn to be not only descriptive, but it helped improve my imagination as well.  Running a good game is like creating a good story: they are both one in the same in my mind.  And so, when you write about what happened during that session, you want to try to impart the feeling of what happened to the people who are reading.

I’ve lost my logs to my early games, but I still have my last two.  To say I keep detailed recording off all that happened would be damning those logs with faint praise.  My Serenity logs ran 108 pages and 64,200 words, while my Farscape logs ran 150 pages and 89,900 words.  And I have to say, I have some great writing in there, ’cause at the time, I really needed to entertain myself.

I’ve told people that one day I’m going to publish these logs, because they do show how I was developing as a writer–and they’re damn fun to read.  Or at least I think so.  Maybe people who aren’t into gaming would find them interesting.  I would hope they’d look at the writing and examine the creativity that went into the story behind the writing, and understand and enjoy what I was doing.

And if you, the reader, like what I was doing, then I succeeded.

Because, in the end, it’s always about being entertaining.

Lawn Care and the Art of Creation

Yesterday was such a nice day.  We’ve had several since October started, and I was actually out and about because I don’t want to miss the last few days of fall before winter comes in and screws everything up.

Part of what I did yesterday was mow, which I’ve been needing to do for a while.  I hate mowing the lawn.  If it were up to me I’d get a couple of sheep and let them eat the damn thing.  A month ago I had someone from the town government come out and give me a “verbal notice” that some of my neighbors were upset because (1) my grass was too long and (2) I had weeds along the sidewalk.  Oh, my god: the horror!  And I smiled at the time and said I’d take care of it, but mostly I’m of the opinion, fuck ’em if they don’t like it.

So the grass is cut and most of the weeds are pulled, and now I gotta worry about raking the leaves, which if I could I’d just soak the lawn with gas and set the whole damn thing aflame.

Anyway, when I’m mowing I think.  I usually work things over in my head, usually scenes and the like.  Sometimes I’ll “talk out” entire things in my head, as if I were the characters.  It’s something I do, and I’m not ashamed to say I do it, even if it is a little strange.

So what was I thinking about yesterday as I spent 45 minutes mowing the lawn?

Pentagrams, bondage, and a character dying.

The first was for my upcoming novel.  I’m in the world building phase and I’m getting the basics down.  The story is going to take place in the city of Chicago, specifically the Chicago Conurbation.  My story is delving a bit into the “dystopian urbanization” realm, and Chicago is about a sprawling suburb away from turning into the next hell hole (I would say New York, but I’ve been to worse).  In my story the Chicago Conurbation is sometimes referred to as “The Pentacle,” and when I go with with a limited idea like that, well, sir, I just gotta figure out why.

Google Maps comes into play at this point, and it’s a very simple thing to get a look-down on the Chicago area, zoom out a little to bring in the other states (like 6 of them), and you get a screen shot, you pull it into your photo editor, you darken the urban area that Chicago will cover in my story, and . . . there you have it: the Chicago Conurbation.

Of course I thought all this out ahead of time, because if nothing else, when I’m mowing I need to know in my head where everything is going.

Now, for the bondage . . ..

My erotic story is beginning to really heat up, and I’ve gone beyond peeing games in the bathroom and into some serious titillation.  And I’ve reached a point where I needed something good to happen . . . something like nipple clamps.

Now, I’m the first to admit: I’ve never used them, and have no idea what kind are out there beyond putting clothespins on.  And given where I am in the story I didn’t want to go that cheap-ass route–trust me, in the story, you’d understand why–so I knew I had to do my research.  I had the scene in my mind, so making sure I got the right kind of clamps for my character’s nipples is very important.

I mean, when it comes to bondage, you gotta get it right, no?

And as far as the last . . ..

I’ve been away from my role play for a while, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t thought about it.  Yesterday I was thinking about the future of my character, where they are going to go (hint: into some strange places), and there was something that I’ve been thinking of for a while, and that is what will happen with some of the non-playing characters we have in the game now.

In short, when do they pass away?

And for one character I saw their death.  I imagined a last meeting with them, and what we would say.  I played it out as I mowed, and I felt everything that happened between my character and theirs, and even though that character is really me, I sit feel how they feel.

It was a time for crying.  And I did, because with many of my characters, I get so caught up in what they are, and what they become, and what they mean to my character, I can’t help but feel sadness when something bad happens to them.

I think it’s impossible to have perfect, happy characters in gaming, just as it’s impossible to be perfect and happy all the time in real life.  And that means there will be sadness; there will be tears.

But you know what?

With those tears comes the memory of what that character means to you.

And I will never forget what I’ve made them.

It Ain’t Easy Being Geek

As this is Speak Out With Your Geek Out! Week, I’m going to spend part of the week blogging about things that gets my geek up, that brings out the geeky part of my personality, that has people turn in my direction, point at me and say, “Geek!”

And I wear this title proudly.

So what’s on tap today?  What is Geek and What Does it Mean?

When I was in high school, I owned a slide ruler.  And I could use it.  Now, you could point to a lot of things at that time–I was into science fiction; I worshiped Star Trek; I was into movies like few people; I knew the names of every person, American or Russian, who’d flown in space–but whipping out a slide ruler and being able to use it tattooed the label of “geek” on my forehead better than anything else I would ever do or love.

I suffered from a number of issues, personal and mental, as a teen, and embracing my geekness helped me through that time.  (So did drugs and booze, but, hey: it was the 1970’s.)  When other people were out on dates, I was down to the mall looking for books and games.  When my friends were out with their girlfriends, I was in my room checking out the latest novel while listening to some prog rock (I was big into ELP, Yes, Genesis–or, as my friends called it, “freak music”) or WLUP, Chicago, which at that time was pretty much as “underground” FM as it got (and would often freak out my Top 40 AM friends whenever they were over and a song came on that actually played longer than 4 minutes).  When my friends were out with their girlfriends, I was often driving around in the middle of the night, the top down and the wind in my then-pretty-long hair, and I’d have some story running in my head.

You might noticed a theme in the above paragraph . . ..

At certain points in my life I spent a lot of time alone.  I lived in a small town, and if you were even the slightest bit different, everyone knew it.  And some would go out of their way to let you know that different wasn’t a good thing; I was beat up a few times in school, and there was at least one guy who spent all of high school tormenting me whenever he had the chance.  This last had a happy ending, however: said tormenting stopped when, while at my senior prom–yes, I actually had a date!–this person spent a significant amount of time talking smack about me, and when I confronted him I let it be known to him and the dozen or so people watching, that if it didn’t stop I was going to drag him into the parking lot and beat him with a tire iron.  Yes, you could do that in 1975; yes, if by that time people knew you were a little “crazy”, then they began leaving you alone when you acted out.

But I was alone.  A lot.  Even after getting married I spent a lot of time being alone, as I still didn’t fit in with the activities enjoyed by my brother-in-laws (cars and guns and hunting and Country & Western . . . oh, yeah, yee-ha).

That began changing slowly, however.  In the early days of cable I discovered Doctor Who on WTTW Channel 11, and believe it or not my stepson began watching it with me.  It wasn’t long before he started so getting into it that he wanted to know more and more about it, and eventually that led to us spending several days at a huge con in Chicago.  It was time to walk around and dress up (I had a 19 foot scarf, guess who I was?) and go to panels and attend screenings–and, in general, enjoy the fact that you were hanging with your own kind–geeks.

Then I discovered GenCon, and yes–I’d found heaven.  One thing I will just thrown out here: in my own gaming groups I’ve encountered a few butt clowns, all whom have given butt clowns a bad name.  But the majority of gamers whom I’ve encountered at events like GenCon have been great people.  I mean, when you are at GenCon running a Cyberpunk game where your objective is to kill the player characters before they wise up and realize they’ve been had (which was the plot of one of the games I ran), and when it’s all over you have a discussion about (1) how great the session was, (2) where we, the players, sort of messed up, and (3) all love for the GM . . . your life feels worthwhile, even if just for a few hours.

(And not to feel too snarky, but one of my best moments did occur at GenCon when I ran into one of the aforementioned butt clowns who hated me because I’d been the first to make him roll dice so everyone could see his rolls, and he started talking down to me, getting all superior and such before he laid a snide, “So are you doing anything interesting?” on me . . . and it was then I flipped the “Judge” badge he hadn’t noticed ’cause it was hanging from the hem of my tee shirt, and I told him, “Gee, Glen, I’d love to stay and chat, but I got a game I gotta run,” and the way his face crashed and burned as I walked away remains in my memory to this day.)

I was born too early; I really was.  Yes, I have seen a lot of things and been there at the beginning for others.  I have that creed that most people can’t touch.  But I grew up in an age of isolation; finding people who were interested in the same geeky things was a chore.  That small town where I grew up?  I was probably the only gamer there.  When I showed one of my friends an Avalon Hill game for the first time, he looked at me like I’d just tossed the body of a dead cat on the table.  You had to do some real hunting to find people.  The first gaming group I encountered was hanging out in the smelly, musty basement of a pet store, but these people formed the core of my original gaming group, one that lasted for nearly 12 years.

Today you have the Internet to connect and find people.  You have sites where you can hang and talk all the geek stuff you want.  There are sites where you can set up and run games.  My daughter–who is becoming a geek in her own way with anime and manga–has several sites that she frequents and is able to connect with people who share her interests, and this year she’s bounced ideas off me about “cosplaying” for Halloween at her school this year.  (Hint: it involves blue hair.)

And there’s even “geek dating” sites where one may be able to find that individual who is going to make your geek heart flutter and roll a straight up 20.  Trust me, were I looking these days, I would head over to Geek’s Dream Girl and get me a profile created, ’cause having a geek in your life is a great way to go.

Yes, there are still those who view us with a jaundiced eye, who see us as something to avoid because . . . well, you know, we’re geeks.  There are those who try to put us in a corner, to marginalize us, to make us somehow seem less than worthy.

I got news for these people:

We are great; we are many; we are bright and interesting and loved.

We are geeks.

And you will never take that from us.

I Say to Myself, What a Wonderful Gaming World

As this is Speak Out With Your Geek Out! Week, I’m going to spend part of the week blogging about things that gets my geek up, that brings out the geeky part of my personality, that has people turn in my direction, point at me and say, “Geek!”

And I wear this title proudly.

So let us start, shall we?  First up: Gaming and gamers.

Yes, it goes without saying I’m a gamer.  I have been there, so to speak, from the very beginning, for I remember the dark days of the 1970’s when if you were seen carrying a large book with the picture of a monster on it, there was something wrong with you.  If you conversed about stuff like “Armor Class”, you were speaking in tongues.  If you cared dice in a bag then you must be . . . one of them.

Them being gamers.

It seems everyone knows the sterotype: fat, sweaty guys who haven’t bathed in months, living in their parent’s basement, gathering with similar individual to eat Cheetos and drink Mountain Dew and slay imaginary imaginary creatures while never wondering if they will ever kiss a girl.

Ah, yes, it’s great fun.  All otaku get a similar rap, but if you are a gamer it seem you are destined to spend your life as if you’ve been consigned to a hereto unknown Circle of Hell.  You are a social outcast; you are unable to relate to “normal” people.

I am here to tell you, people, it’s time to understand the true nature of the universe.

First off, let me elaborate:  when I speak of gaming I speak of “table top RPGs”, wherein one sits with a group of like-minded people and work (more or less) with a Game Master in bringing their story together.  We are not talking Monopoly here, although if that floats your boat, it fine.  Most RPGs enjoy board and card games as well, but when I say “gaming” I’m referring to games like Dungeons & Dragons, or Cyberpunk, or Eclipse Phase . . . yes, I’m old school.

Gaming is, by it’s nature, social.  One has a very difficult time playing a game alone, so having three or more people present at a table when undergoing your imaginary trials and tribulations is the norm.  It involves the act of coming together and doing something.  In this way, it’s no different than watching the Super Bowl, or getting together for a cook out, or playing badminton, or watching a movie.  It’s an activity to be shared by all.

And it’s not just about getting out a character sheet and rolling the bones.  You spend enough time at gaming tables you’re gonna hear about the gaming session that went “off the rails” and turned into a full-time chat the might have been about gaming, but could have just as easily been about sports or movies or TV or . . . well, anything.  As a GM I’ve pulled my players astray many a time, and sometimes you need to do it: you need to talk about something only because you are all together and it’s easy to do.  Because as gamers you aren’t the shallow, socially inept and rather oddball individuals that “normal” people envision when talking about us–I’m looking at you, Rona Jaffe–but we’re really, truly complex and wonderful people.  No, really.

As someone who has GMed games since 1989, let me offer the following examples of people with whom I’ve gamed: my stepson and his wife.  One of my best friends and his wife, who was also a gamer before they met.  Another friend of mine and . . . his wife.  Another gamer who had to drop out of one of my games to get married.  Strange: for people who are so incapable of social interaction, seems like there’s a lot of marryin’ goin’ on.

And I’ve encountered the same thing at cons.  I’ve had no fewer than 4 married couples sit at my table when running a game, and I’m certain that one day, when I go to cons and run games again, I’ll encounter more married couples, or couples looking to get married, or just couples.  It happens because we are really are just like . . . you.

The most fascinating aspect of gaming is, to me, the creativity.  Gaming, particularly from the GMs standpoint, involves the telling of a story, the spinning of a tale.  In order to tell a tell a good story, one needs to be creative, and that creativity flows both ways, for a GM can only create part of the world in which their fellow gamers play: the players bring their characters into the mix, toss them in and hope that what percolates to the top will be epic in nature.

I got into RPGs back in the mid-1980’s because I wanted an outlet for what I felt was my creativity; I wanted to enjoy the sensation of being carried away to another world for a few hours.  Yes, it didn’t always happen; yes, I had some very bad experiences along the way, which was one of the reasons I became a GM.

But of late I’ve discovered that other people feel that storytelling and gaming go hand in hand.  Yesterday (the 11th) Rebecca Angel wrote on GeekMom of using RPGs to promote creativity in her kids.  I’ve spoken with a friend of mine about using Big Eyes Small Mouth–a RPG system based around all things anime–to bring out the creative nature of two of her children.  Of late I’ve used an online RPG to improve my writing and storytelling abilities . . . I could go on for hours, for being a gamer and being creative tend to go hand in hand.

And just to give you a little extra background: my first exposure to gaming didn’t come from RPGs–it came from Avalon Hill war games.  Why?  Because I loved history, and using Avalon Hill (and the late, great SPI) games to “redo” famous battles of the past just tickled me crazy.  It was that part of my mind that kept whispering, “What if this happened?” that drew me to war games, and later into RPGs.  And continue to draws me in to this day.

“But, Ray,” you might say, “those gaming geeks can be an unruly bunch, anti-social and just plain nasty at times.”  Yes, they can.  So can sport fans–ever hear of football riots?  So can people who gather at a bar.  So can friends at a cookout.  So can just about anyone.

I’ll admit: I’ve offered my fair share of rants about nasty gamers, about people who would stab you in the back for no reason simply because that’s how they roll.  But gamers are human, and humans come in all sort of shapes, sizes and attitudes.  But lets remember Sturgeon’s Revelation:  “Ninety percent of everything is crud.”  While Harlan Ellison felt that average was higher for politicians and used car salesmen, I say it’s lower for gamers.

Over the years I’ve run close to 20 games at GenCon, and only once did I have an issue with someone sitting at my table–and that was because during the game he started pulling out a bunch of miniatures he bought and started fooling around with them, which became a distraction for the other players.  In all, I’ve ran games for over 100 people at GenCon (and maybe another couple of dozen at smaller cons) and they have all been wonderful people, usually full of energy, friendly, and really to have fun.

(And in case you’re wondering, Sturgeon’s Law–the real one–says “Nothing is always absolutely so”.  Really.)

There is nothing wrong with being a gamer, or a geek, or a geeky gamers if you swing that way.  I’ve been one for most my life, and these days . . . I see my daughter getting into anime and manga, and it’s only a matter of time before she starts looking at my gaming books shelves and starts to wonder–“Hey, Dad, can we do this?”  And I’m going to be right there guiding her, just as I did with my stepson, just like I’ve done with other friends–

As I said only a few days before, games take you to new worlds and can open your mind to new ideas.  It really, truly is a great way to open up and meet great people who share a common interest, and while gaming might not cause you totally geek out and rush out to buy a Companion Cube, you might just discover–

Being a gamer, even a geeky one, can be a lot of fun.

My Own Private Pandorica

Yesterday was a pretty good day in terms of how days go.  A lot of running and getting things done, and then relaxing before the computer to work on my edits, do a little reading (I have a game review I will do this week), and chat.  Yes, I did this blog, too, but that should go without saying, ’cause when I’m not doing it, I’m being lazy.

One of the things that crossed my mind yesterday was that, for the time in a while, I’ve been running a lot of scenes through my head.  Scenes for stories, scenes for gaming . . . it’s been like a non-stop story pitch, only without the egotistical producers who want to rewrite you the moment you hand over the story and a whole lot less coke.

And it’s fun.  It’s led me to see things to do with old stories I’m going to work on, and it’s setting me up for stories I will work on.  I’m very visual, so all the scenes tend to look like something out of a movie–Marty, I’m lookin’ at you, dude.  And as I’ve mentioned I sometimes speak the different parts out loud because that’s the way I am: switching between characters in an attempt to not only get the scene right, but to perhaps feel what the characters are feeling–yes, I took some acting classes in school; yes, they said I was good; no, it went nowhere.  Move along . . ..

These days writing has become my own little Pandorica.  You know what that is, right?  If you know Doctor Who, then you know the Pandorica started out as a prison cube, but in the end The Doctor used the Pandorica to reboot the universe.  (Prior to doing that he gave the most epic of speeches, so epic, in fact, that merely by reenacting the speech this kid owns you forever.)

In my head I’m rebooting my own universes, taking what I know about how they started and working them out so, in the end, they become something close to perfect.  I’ve had one set of scenes I’ve been had on a repeat reel, and it’s been taking over my thoughts again and again for maybe three days now.  It finally got to the point where I needed to sit down last night and begin setting those events into note form, and by 12:30 AM I had what I needed laid out in one of my oh-so-lovely “time lines” that I love.  (I always do time lines; time lines are cool.)

My Pandorica is my imagination, and my stories are a universe in need of rebooting.  The trick I’ve learned, though, it to know when to lock up the Pandorica and leave the universe as it is and not turn it into a black void of absolute cold and emptiness.  ‘Cause it’s easy to do.  It’s easy to over-think something and take what could have been something verging on epic and make it meh.

I was asked about the editing of my current WIP, and if I had to do a lot of rewriting, and the answer was a resounding “negative”.  The first draft was great, and to start hacking out parts of the story just to make it “feel” better . . . nope.  Not needed.  I’ve change areas where tense seemed off, and I’ve removed the few passive sentences that had crept in during the first draft, but as far as rewriting is concerned, I haven’t gone there.  I didn’t need to because I saw that universe before I started writing.  And before the first word hit the computer, my Pandorica was set with 85 percent of the base code.

All I needed to do was type.

It’s a crazy thing to say, but all this “scene thinking” and note taking–and don’t forget the time lines!–helps me tremendously.  And I’d recomend it to anyone who wants to be creative, be it writing or gaming or even doing crafts.

Look inside: do you have a Pandorica?  And if you do–

What do you think is inside?

Lands of Plenty

Today is one of those strange days where my mind doesn’t want to work with me.  I am trying to do A but my brain is off on like G right now, and it’s laughing at me because I’m giving up on A and trying to convince it we should be doing B instead.

I hate it when your own brain doesn’t cut you any slack, but when you have suffered with it being a pain in the ass as long as I have, you get used to these little foibles.

Being unfocused as I am, I naturally tried to focus on something–that something being gaming.  Why?  Because that’s me: GM to the End.  If there is a game out there, I probably want to play it, or at least look the rules over and see if I have any interest.

I mostly headed off in that direction because of an email I received from a friend the other day.  Turned out that she has a feed on a website where I do reviews, and she was like, “Hey, great review!  When did you start doing this?”  I informed her that I’d been doing this for a while, and that by writing these reviews it allowed me to see other games and talk about them, and perhaps–as I’d done with her–interest other gamers into wanted to give the game a go.

Even before I started doing reviews I’d pick up games based on concepts that sounded interesting, or because of the cost (free is always good), or because of something as simple as a cover–the original Hong Kong Action Theater! from Event Horizon Productions did that for me, for when you see a game with Chow Yun-fat on the cover, you gotta pick it up.  (And to this day I still consider that one of the best games I’ve ever ran/played.)

Because I used to pick up game due to having more disposable income than time to play, I ended up with so many things to play and no one to play them with.  I didn’t mind, however;  for me the adventure is in the imagination and not always in the playing.  (Something I’ll cover when I Speak Out With Your Geek Out! next week.)

I have a number of games that I’ve never played or ran, but always imagined what it would be like if I ever did run/play them. The Stargate SG-1 RPG was like that.  For months I imagined a game with 4-5 players that could have run for years, I tell ya.  I know it could have run for years because I created a time line that covered close to 30 years game world time, and when you have that sort of world to work with, then the adventures come easy.

Unknown Armies is another game that I’ve always wanted to dip into but probably never will.  It’s one of those concepts of modern weirdness that whispers to me, but that whisper isn’t always heard by others.  It’s one of those that if you ran it correctly could start out as a small, local in-world clash for the players, and before it’s all over they could find themselves players in a global cult.  Would that be good or bad?  Depends: do they have a gun?

And my list goes on: Dresden FilesEclipse Phase, Hot Chicks . . . yeah, so many things to do, and never enough time or people for it all.

But you know, in the end, it doesn’t matter.  Just over a year ago I was in horrible Star Trek game filled with the worst kind of ass clowns, but after it crashed and burned in spectacular fashion I took the time to build the character’s story, and, I must say, it was pretty magnificent.  So where the game doesn’t take me where I want to go, there is always my imagination to fill in the blanks.

Isn’t it all about creativity anyway?