Last year was 2020, and for reasons, pretty much stopped playing with the 5e table that had drawn me back into role playing after a break of a significant number of years. Like… I played various games for a decade, and then I almost entirely missed AD&D 2nd edition, and 5th had been out for a few years by the time I came back.
But. I enjoy the table, and I miss it, and I look forward to reconnecting with those players. And, fortunately, my real-world job was almost custom-fitted for my personality and my employer’s needs at a moment when millions of people were almost entirely stuck at home with their children. My job became looking at the internet all the time.
With looking at the internet all the time comes social media breaks for people who (1) remember smoke breaks but (2) never smoked. So there I am, handling several hundred customer interactions a day, and on my not-smoke breaks looking for ways to stay connected to D&D.
What I found was that, as in my before days, there are other games than D&D. I never forgot this, because every time I went to look at my D&D books, I also looked at Traveller, my Paranoia, my James Bond 007, my Toons, my Call of Cthulhu, and a bunch of others I have, and the bunch of other games I remembered that we played, but I didn’t own in those days. Doctor Who, Gamma World, Boot Hill, Champions. And more.
And also this one quirky dude who had thoughts on play, and thoughts on design. And the bundle for social justice opened up the world of itch to me. And then someone said, “hey, that guy with thoughts has written a game called What’s So Cool About Outer Space?, and you should write something inspired by that.” So I did. And, follow the links, there’s great stuff there.
And it’s pretty much really more of a reformatting of that game, rather than anything new, with a few words changed to make it about superheroes, and it’s called What’s So Comic About Supers? And I’m still pretty pleased with it.
What it taught me was that games don’t have to be hard. It also articulated something that I have long thought (I think), and that I strongly agree with. The game is what you do when you play, not the words in the book that prompted you to do those things. With role playing games, what you do is talk about what some imaginary people do in an imaginary place. The words in the book are not the game, and the person (people, corporation, whatever) who put those words into that book aren’t there. There’s a great line Jennifer Ehle gets to say in that Pride and Prejudice, “Lady Catherine will never know.”