As I watched my 40th birthday slowly creep up on me, I sought opinions on what I should do to commemorate it. One friend suggested I write a manifesto. At first I thought I couldn’t do such a thing, assuming that I would have some sort of answers about life when I don’t. But I looked up what a manifesto means: “A manifesto is a published verbal declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer.”
For whatever reason, the thought of it being about my own views rather than some fundamental truth made it easier. Since my thirties have been a time of re-evaluating my life, I thought summing it up could have value for me if no one else. I will not claim this is brilliant or insightful. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that these are things that some people deal with much better than I have. It’s just what I’ve been struggling with and the answers that I found helpful.
I meant to publish this on my birthday, but I didn’t manage that. So here’s the belated manifesto.
[Edit: I felt inspired to write a followup post.]
So this thing happened on Tumblr, and everyone lost their shit. Which is the way of Tumblr, I guess. But it started with someone asking Brian Michael Bendis, “what advice do you have for someone that has had writers block for the past 6 or 7 years?”
this will sound harsh but you’re probably not a writer.
writers write every day. it’s ok, not everyone is.
but if you consider yourself one, get off your ass and get back to work!! write about why you haven’t been writing . anything. just write.
Shilling is a crappy part of being a writer. Or publisher even, since I technically qualify as that too. I really hate doing it, and when I do shill I try to do it in respectful, non-spammy ways.
I also make no money as a writer and even less as a publisher. So there are obviously some flaws to how I market.
Still, nothing turns me off more than strangers randomly trying to mass network with me. I wouldn’t even think I was worth shmoozing, but it does happen once in a blue moon. (A friend and I were approached after we were on a panel at a tiny convention by someone who wanted to press their business card on us. I had no idea what to do.) Even my tiny little zine, Mad Scientist Journal, gets a bit of spamming from people who don’t know me but want to team up or something.
I’d be lying if I said general ennui and frustration with roleplaying games is some new thing. I’ve been dissatisfied with a lot of roleplaying games for probably the last decade, but occasionally it spikes up and I want to rant and foam a bit. I almost had a new post written when I bought the newest edition of Fading Suns. It had changed a few things, but left in a lot of the bits I thought were ill conceived. Now Shadowrun 5th Edition is coming out and I feel similarly frustrated. I want to grab someone and yell, “You left the bodies and you only moved the headstones!!”
On the flip side, a lot of Apocalypse World and Monsterhearts have made gaming a whole different level of fun. And it’s gotten me to dust off a lot of game ideas that I’d otherwise given up on.
I have a bunch of stuff I’m supposed to be doing. Get as much of my novella for Timid Pirate done that I can before NaNoWriMo. Finish prep work for the novel I want to work on during November. Prep for the games I’m running at AmberCon Northwest.
But in the end, I feel obliged to grouse a bit about Nobilis 3rd Edition.
Been a while since I did a state of the gaming or anything, so I thought I’d do a quick update with a few gamer related comments. I have other stuff I want to write about here, but just haven’t had time in light of my aggressive fiction writing schedule. But here’s a few random thoughts on gaming. First, a rant about White Wolf. Then a general update about the state of my gaming.
I’ve been feeling kinda blah about gaming again lately. A big chunk of this is likely due to the fact that we haven’t been able to game much. Our attendance at games (or our ability to run our games) have been kaiboshed by our other social activities and travel. It’s really hard to maintain enthusiasm for a game you don’t play in for a month or two. Or three. It’s why I prefer “every other week” for a gaming cycle, as opposed to “monthly when we can manage it.” But when you are gone most weekends in a given month… well, that just screws everything up. =P
Beyond that, I’ve been pondering what it is I want out of a game. Part of this came from my renewed desire to play in a Star Wars game, but realizing I don’t have anyone I’d want to ask to run said game. And, really, I want to play. I’ve tried to think about what it was that was missing from my current gaming experience that I had in the past. Which came up with a more bizarre realization: More often than not, my favorite gaming experiences as a player have come from games where I thought the GM was awful. This isn’t to say there haven’t been exceptions. I’ve had great games with GMs I love. I’ve had soul killing gaming experiences with GMs I hated. But I’ve had a ridiculous amount of fun with games where the GM just wasn’t doing it for me.
The things that were fun was that everyone loved their characters and people were really engaged. It’s what I loved about “Dragon Lines,” which I hadn’t really had a lot of in other games I’ve run. I have a delicate ego that feeds off of other people’s enthusiasm. Part of me wonders if the players developed such rich interactions with each other because they had nowhere else to turn to. Not having a plot they could (or wanted to) interact with, they turned all their energy into having fun with the other players. Not all the players did that, but enough so that it was fun and rewarding.
Now I just need to figure out how to pull that off with a GM who is good… ;)
A couple days ago I picked up Running Wild, the critter sourcebook for Shadowrun 4e. It’s a pretty cool looking book with some fun concepts. Overall, though, I’m left with the feeling that this would have been even cooler to have this book come out four or five years ago when the game was still relatively new and I was still playing it.
This is becoming a recurring pet peeve for me. I had a similar, and perhaps stronger, frustration when the Runners Companion and Unwired came out. They both represented core books that really would have been nice to have when they released all the other core books.
Had a couple thoughts that have been bubbling up regarding the gaming aspect of roleplaying games and how that indirectly ties into Amber Diceless.
This last weekend I picked up a couple of game books. My intro got long, so I’m putting the whole damn thing behind a cut. What’s behind the cut? A couple mini reviews and some commentary on baggage with roleplaying games.