I read an article on Shadowrun the other day and it reminded me how much I really enjoyed playing that game. I also had a lot of fun reading the short stories and novels that went along with the setting. I’ve still got a pile of game materials and even a few miniatures laying about patiently awaiting my return.

I haven’t played in years. I would love to play again. It’s a really neat, interesting setting. Set in the near future it had combined fantasy and cyberpunk and I loved it. There could be a troll riding a motorcycle wearing a sword! There could be a kid plugged into a computer helping his team get the doors open to rescue some hostage… and then I remember the computer ideas and graphics I was thinking of just then. I fear the author of the article is correct in that time has passed the technology of the game by.

When I played it was a hybrid game system that the game master made up. I don’t have any idea what parts of the rules we did or didn’t actually use. In that respect I think the article is correct – I don’t think the rules did the game justice. I’m not going to spend a ton of time on the rules.

The rules could be changed or tweaked or tossed out as you pleased. It was always about the story to me. That’s the part of role playing that really made it work. At the end of the day you had this shared experience, probably with really funny stories that made the time spent worth while. To this day I remember the time I invited a girlfriend to join the game I was playing in. The GM allowed it and gave her a ‘rock-star’ character. We played and did a run and all the things we would normally do on a game night. The girlfriend was quiet and I don’t really know if she was having a good time or not – I was into the game. The best part of the whole night for me was when the GM decided to take matters into his own hands. He turned and addressed the girlfriend directly with a question. She stopped, looked back at everyone staring at her waiting for a response and broke out her best dingy-girl voice and said, “Um, you should like talk to my manager.”

That was it – the whole extent of her role playing and it floored us all. We howled with laughter because it was such a perfect response, perfectly timed. It is a fun story. And that’s where I think the focus of role playing games should be. It should be about social interaction within your group. It should be about having fun and making stories and creating the kind of memories that make you look fondly at the things you did and the games you played. I have no idea if Shadowrun will survive or not. I can’t imagine trying to keep a near future game just far enough ahead of technology that it makes sense while mixing in game rules and fantasy world aspects. I hope the game survives and I hope I get the chance to play again someday soon.

Until then, maybe I’ll watch that promo video one more time…

Fearless or Embarrassing?

Once, I was fearless. There was a time when I would just put words or art or actions out there and just let them be what they would be. I had an art instructor tell me once as she held up an old painting of mine, “I liked this painter better. You didn’t have fear. Look at these bold colors…”

It’s not easy to get past that. It seems to be getting worse as I get older, not better. Yes, I’ve moved toward positions of greater responsibility in my day job and in my community activities. Yes, people are starting to look at me and say things like, “Oh, yeah… I thought you looked familiar.” It’s almost like I’m right at the edge of…

That’s just it. The edge of what exactly?

I had the opportunity to do yet another thing that was outside my comfort zone yesterday. I took the chance and I think things turned out well. I have told people in a quasi anonymous way that I am an old school role player but I have not given that claim much agency lately. Well, I busted out the books and dusted off some old notes and for the first time in many years ran a D&D game yesterday. It was a slow starter. It was a very small group (made even smaller by the fact that one of the invited came down sick). Two of the players had never played before, nor had they had any real exposure to the game outside of what showed up on Community or Big Bang Theory. I’ll admit – this was way outside my comfort zone. I’m at a loss to figure out why, but I was not at all confident – and that’s just silly. I’ve been playing longer than either of the new players has been alive. Maybe that was it? Maybe all this discomfort lately is my stupid, weird version of a mid-life crisis? At least I won’t be trying to buy a Porsche I guess.

I fumbled, but didn’t roll a 1, so we made it through the game. I think I could have done some things better or some things differently but nobody ran screaming… well at least not from the living room. Their characters on the other hand, let’s just say it was refreshing to get the reactions I did. Hopefully we’ll get to do it again.

As for me – I think doing something and not totally failing has added to my willingness to step out and do stuff again. Perhaps I’ll be more proactive and get things done. It’s worth a shot – even if I do critical fumble, at least I’m doing the stuff I think is fun.

Tokyo Yakuza – Volume 1

So, one of my recent successful writings is working its way toward being published. I was very excited when my story was accepted to the Tokyo Yakuza series. My story is slated to be in VOLUME 2, however the first volume is out now and up on Amazon for anyone that might like to check it out! I’ve got a copy and have started reading through, you should too.

Tokyo Yakuza


Comfortable and uncomfortable

All in the same me.

I’m working really hard to get my creativity on track and start getting some work out the door. My slump has cost me – I don’t think I’m being invited as a guest to my favorite convention again this year. I really would like to change that. It’s depressing and a little daunting to be dependent on others that way. I’m planning to move out of my comfort zone and try something new. I’ve had a couple of brief chats with some friends and it seems like something that *might* be able to happen. I think this Friday will be a test of that. I’ll not be at work and have the opportunity to set up one of the first steps toward making it happen.

Right in the middle of all my inner turmoil I’ve found a way back to a creative spark I haven’t felt in years. Some friends asked me about my “secret” passion – Dungeons and Dragons. I put secret in quotes because I am, and likely always will be, hesitant about telling others I play in person. Don’t ask me – I don’t understand my hang ups that well. The point is, I crawled up to the attic and dragged 6 or 8 boxes down from storage. I’ve been thumbing through old character sheets (Morgan Firedrake lives on!) and adventure notes from games I’d run in the past. I had forgotten the shear volume of work. I had neglected that creative push that was trying to stay ahead of a band of smart, experienced adventurers. It’s been really fun along with motivating.

So – there will be more on my vague “something new” project as soon as it becomes something more than a daydream. Until then, I’ve got lots of work to do (just as soon as I make one more choice in my pick your own path adventure book).