Uncle Hyena (unclehyena) wrote,
Uncle Hyena
unclehyena

The State of the Game

I have spent a significant percentage of my life reading RPG rules and thinking about RPGs. Unfortunately, I haven't spent nearly enough time actually PLAYING RPGs. My schedule has always been weird, and I am completely useless as a GM, so I am at the mercy of other people to find a game I can attend and am welcome to. On top of this, there is my aversion to playing with people I don't know, or at least know of.

In the last year, December 2010 to December 2011, I have participated in eight RPG sessions, a total of about 30 hours of game time. Seven of those sessions were Tunnels and Trolls; the eighth was an oddball playtest trainwreck that I faked an urgent phone call to escape from (See why I don't like to play with strangers?). This constitutes more than 50% of the total amount of face to face RPG gaming I have done since I left home in 1984. I think of myself as a gamer, but the reality is something else, I fear.

I suppose I should say something about that disastrous playtest. I was roped into it at GaryCon in March, and found myself playing something that was essentially a rehash of first edition "Metamorphosis Alpha" with bad copy editing, written in complete ignorance of everything that has happened in game design since 1977. The world was complicated but felt shallow, and the rules were full of species special abilities, class specials, and weird tech that tried to be cool but that rapidly devolved into white noise. After two hours, we had ALMOST finished generating characters, and I vanished at the first opportunity. I learned some things, had a few long standing ideas confirmed, and mostly just wanted out. You see why I don't like to game when I don't know anyone at the table?

The seven T&T sessions, on the other hand, were great. Four were at the Arsenal in Indianapolis under my friend Scott Grant, and three were at Trollcon in Arizona, one with Trollgod Ken St. Andre and the other two with nearly-as-legendary T&T personality Bear Peters. So... 28 hours of gaming in far off places at an average cost (considering gasoline and hotel costs, and being CONSERVATIVE) of about $50 an hour. The amount of that money that actually went into the pockets of the GMs? None, though I did buy Scott one dinner.

Gaming is good for me; it actually makes me happy. But I can't afford those prices, and it bothers me that none of the money I spend (and can't afford, remember) goes to the people who make the games happen.

I need to do something about this; I don't know what. I suspect that something involving bribery and a local game master (maybe at a local game store), if I can find one, might work out. But obviously I need to do something, because the situation in 2011 was insane, and the situation for the two decades before that was intolerable.

Uncle Hyena
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