Pen & paper
Posted by Erik Hyrkas [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 19 October 2012, 9:23 pm
I'm not sure where this feeling has come from, but lately I've had an itch to play one of the old fashion pen and paper RPGs. Any of the classics would work for me right now: D&D, Shadowrun, GURPS, or even Paranoia (the game where everybody is your frenemy.)

I don't remember the last time we faced the insurmountable odds of a frontal assault on Tiamat's lair while being improbably flanked by Orcus on one side and Strahd von Zarovich on the other. A battle that would take four hours to fight with the use of many twelve and twenty siders (that would frequently--and quite accidentally--fall to the floor whenever they teetered on the edge of a one), and six more hours to roll loot using the complicated treasure table where everybody would groan when they found art.

Our characters would then face the daunting task of trying to lug the billion electrum back to our castles. There would always be at least one girdle of giant strength and one girdle of gender change...and despite our abilities to alter realty at will, nobody could determine which was which.

Oh, and why is the effing rogue passing notes back and forth with the DM and smiling so much. Sure, we all should be happy we won the day against impossible (and rather unlikely) odds... well, except the paladin who died to friendly fire (oops), but the rogue seems more pleased with himself than usual, which is saying something. And to think, the entire adventure began in a tavern after a brawl with dwarves who didn't like the smell of our beer. No matter what devious attempts we made to avoid the DM's well laid plans, he kept his smile. Though, how we found ourselves in the fifth circle of hell, I'm still a little confused over.

Sometimes I wonder if MMOs are robbing the teenagers and twenty-somethings of the experience of playing games fashioned only in the absurd imaginations of their friends. These adventures, no matter how ridiculous they were, have left an enduring impression on me, even after twenty years. Unfortunately, these games take so much time to play and require physical proximity, that getting the guys together from across the city, state, or country is nearly impossible to schedule. Add in the scheduling complexity of the kids' ballet, basketball, soccer, karate, and then there is the all important wife-time. I'm not blaming kids or wives for the lack of RPG time. I'm just saying that growing up and having a family makes it difficult (and maybe a little, tiny-bit irresponsible)  to waste 40 hours in a weekend on fighting imaginary demons. At least I have those memories from college and high school.

Before they grow up, get real jobs, and get married (which if you are reading this you probably are still safe for a few years), I hope that kids today get a chance to get off their computers long enough to waste time with their friends IRL, eat pizza, drink soda, and laugh so hard that they made somebody very uncomfortable about touching that twenty-sider that's just been spit on.

On a personal note, I'm spending nearly every waking hour finishing my latest book. If you are interested in seeing what I'm working on, please consider stopping over at my kickstarter project:

I'm offering the book for $1 for the first hundred people.


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