Friday, May 6, 2016

End of an Era

And no, despite how sporadic my writing on this thing has been, this has nothing to do with this blog. (Sorry.)

Phew! What died in here?

One of the first triumphs I wrote about on this roll, here in fact, was starting up a familiar and classic game in a new place for a new group of people. And run it did.

It ran.

It lost old players.

It gained new players.

I printed up multi-page maps for combats.

It ran long enough some nights to close the shop, and these were "new release" nights when the store didn't close until midnight.

When the store I was running the game in moved up the street, the game moved right along with it.

It developed its own history. Many a NSTWW was spun from it. Staff occasionally thrilled to those stories, and these are staff that have heard damn near every NSTWW there was.

It was, by every metric, a success.

But Then, Something Happened

Lives do what they will. People stopped showing up, or started showed up later and later and hoping to get into the action. They had things to do, to run or level up their out-of-game lives.

Life happened. And it crushed the game. Even I stopped showing up once it was clear that only one or two people at a time were going to show up.

Cryin' Like a Bitch

On the one hand, it's to be expected and supported when it happens. Life events like dating and marriage and seeking degrees and certifications and positive job changes and the like should and must take precedence over these entertainments. It means good things are happening to your players, and they should be congratulated for it.

And yet, being the guy who was the ringmaster of these entertainments, damnit it kind of hurt. I felt abandoned, cast aside, and more than a little weird sitting there in the back of a game store alone, watching other people play games while I ate my dinner and then collated notes for a game that I didn't want to admit to myself might never run again.

But I had to admit it to myself. I had things I could be doing too.

Denial, denial, anger, anger, anger, anger, anger... wait, what are the other fifteen again?

I had a small hole to pull myself out of, obviously.

I had to admit that I couldn't blame them, and I probably couldn't blame the game, and I couldn't really blame myself. I had to admit that these sorts of things could just happen.

I had to come up with The Starvation Rule, which stated that "you must feel no pressure whatsoever to run a game in which the players stopped play for whatever reason." And this wasn't to spite them, this was to shore myself up. In a way, I suppose it cuts through the first four stages of grief and tries to turn acceptance into a kind of relief. That makes acceptance easier.

It Happens. Now what?

Moving forward, I can maybe just a little more easily cope with the facts that gaming groups break up, people lose touch, games stop, shops close, books dry-rot, dice fall behind the couch...

Entropy breaks up games, and there are few things more entropic than life, a process where we start out our absolute healthiest and slowly die over the course of 60, 70, 80 or 90 years.

Still, that extra time on your hands? Use it for other things maybe.

Don't Cry for Me Argentina

Why is my Thursday night still spent not playing stuff? Because it doesn't need to be.

I'm currently playing in the store's RPG Lab on Tuesday nights (so I see what's what at the store there, and don't feel a need to stop in for more than 15 minutes or so on Thursday).

Friday night and Saturday night games are the rule rather than the exception, and I'm often running one of those nights. (Oddly enough, it's Champions again)

And for one of the players in the Saturday Champions night, I'm running Dungeon World over voice chat for her and her friends in the deep south on Wednesday nights.

There's also been a game Saturday mornings which has hit a temporary speed bump—or should I say "baby bump?"

And then there's a game I'd been running on and off (mostly on) on Sundays around noon my time (and most of the players are well to the west of me) (except for that one that's in Austria).

So for the time being at least, Thursday can lump it. Well, at least until the RPG Lab ends. I'm already casting about in my mind for a game that would be fun for me to run and still interesting for others to play. Oddly enough, I'm leaning in some direction other than either Champions or Fate.

To Be Continued...

Because of course it is.

1 comment:

  1. Having been the one who stopped coming in more than one or two nights a week, I can't help feeling that I was the one who knocked over the first domino in the chain, but nothing I did prevented anyone from keeping coming, so I'll just say I really hope I can find a way to get in on something you run on a regular basis. Oh well. Life happens. It's one thing I hold against it, but happen it does.