March 24th, 2008


rant for no reason

I lament the decreasing frequency of my favorite hobby; It seems that nowadays it is so difficult to get a game started and maintained for any length of time. Even when it does happen, getting players to show up consistently is pretty difficult. Everyone has varying work schedules, and often times also children that must be taken into account. I remember being an undergraduate in college and rooming with my play group. Gaming was easy. Is everyone home? Let's game. And even if there were flat mates who weren't present, we had so many different games going on that there was always a game for the combination of players who were present.
Now it's like pulling teeth just to play. And really, once every other a week (maybe) is kind of lame. The problem is not finding fellow gamers; the problem is finding time.
Sometimes I think about a new game system I'd like to run or a new game world or something like that; then I think: is it even worth it? I look at those dusty books on the gaming shelf and wonder if I shouldn't just box them up and put them away for good.
Why can't there just be an extra day in the week devoted solely for gaming?

This isn't really a question or anything. Just a rant. Feel free to omglol@me.

oh, and one more thing...

Oh, yeah, so remember that Druid that had just hit 3rd level?
Yeah, so my DM killed off my character last game.

that's right, I said killed off.
My character didn't die during a normal encounter or anything. It's not even like A COCKATRICE FLIES DOWN MAKE A SAVE VS POLYMORPH/PETRIFICATION OR DIE.
I'm not too terribly annoyed, because I was thinking about retiring the character anyway. I did mention this to the DM (that I was thinking about it). I told him that I wasn't sure if my character was a good fit for this party. He assured me that if I wanted to continue playing my character, it could work.
Then, during the game...
So we have a normal encounter, we fight an underwater battle. We win! Yay. Then the DM asks me: "Alright what do you do?"
Me: "Uh, well, I swim up." Seems logical right? We were underwater. If you were underwater, you'd go up for air right? (I mean, even if you were wearing a magic turtle shell that let you breathe underwater like a turtle)
DM: (to everyone else) YOU GUYS find a secret hidden underwater temple full of treasure and adventure.
EVERYONE ELSE: Yay! We go in!
DM: (To me) okay, while you're swimming up... you see more merfolk with tridents and sharks. It was dark, so you didn't really see them coming. They're right up on you... (placing several minis on the board)... roll initiative.

This wasn't a "There's a bolder in your way, you can't go that way" situation. Nor was it a normal random encounter. It was situation orchestrated to kill off my character.
Now, granted, my character was estranged from the party because they were traveling with an NPC I had a beef with; And I *did* say that I was thinking about retiring the character and making a new one. But the NPC that I had a problem with died in the battle anyway, and the DM did say that if I wanted to keep playing that character, it *could* work out. I really hadn't decided yet, so I think it's kind of odd that the DM suddenly just went ahead and made the decision for me.

Would you find that odd? Just wondering.

Btw, really glad I didn't take Spell Focus: Conjuration now.
Snake and Ladder

GM Time-Savers

azuresorrow's post about finding time to roleplay got me thinking about my own roleplaying troubles of late. Bad enough finding time to simply play... but when you're a GM with a packed schedule, how do you manage? What sort of time-savers do you employ to make preparation for a session easier?

For example: for the last couple of games I've run (using the Returners FFRPG system), I've used some complicated spreadsheets to auto-generate monster stats when fed a couple of properties (like level). It reduces the amount of time I need to spend building monsters to about half (since adding abilities isn't automated).

I've also gotten very good at using spreadsheet programs as a makeshift map-making tool. Provided I'm willing to live with blocky-looking maps, it's faster to resize the grid into something like graph paper and use cell outlines to "draw" dungeon maps.