Wednesday, April 10, 2013

RPGs & Me


First when I refer to RPGs or Role Playing games, I am usually referring to Tabletop RPGs.  MMORPGs or Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying games and RPG video games are Video games to me.  Although they have RPG elements to them they are not the creatively immersive experience with one’s imagination that old school tabletop RPGs are.  I began my journey with them back in the fall of 1982.  I was a freshman in High School in Oxnard, California.  My cousin, Steve, who was an avid war and strategy gamer, had referred to them before that time.  The one I was interested in was Top Secret.  It was an Espionage centered game from TSR, the same folks who created Dungeons and Dragons.  Now, I was not interested in D & D and Advanced D & D AKA AD & D.  That was due to my mother’s very religious biases about it.  I enjoyed RPGs; I tried to create some of my own.  When my grades went down that spring my mother blamed the RPGs and my comic books.  She took all of them from me.  I got the comics back but she forbade me from playing RPGs again.

In University I tried to get back into them.  There were several failed attempts when I was at Pacific University.  I was trying to get into Superhero RPG groups playing V & V (Villains and Vigilantes) and Champions.  It was not till my second year at University of Oregon, that I found a group.  They were heavy into Champions, the GM or Gamemaster was a huge Hero System fanatic.  Even though we played in TSR’s Forgotten Realms or Shadowrun, it was using the Hero System rules.  When I moved back to Dundee after I left University, Members from that group who moved welcomed me into their gaming group.  Unlike the previous group which only had one GM.  There were Multiple GMs encouraged with rotating games. Also instead of one system only they encouraged using the system that came with the world.  During this time I got way into RPGs.  I was into AD & D 2nd Edition, Shadowrun, Hero System/Champions and White Wolf’s World of Darkness Setting.

I played with that gaming group for four years.  I stopped because it went from once a week to two or three times a week.  When people left the group, games those people were in would suddenly stop, except for Shadowrun which is good for revolving door casts.  I felt like there were also financial demands on me for being the only one with a full time job.  A friend once told me, that if something was no longer fun stop.  Gaming with these folks became a chore, an obligation, not so much fun.  I could not stay in this group, so I ended my participation with the group.  I also needed some space from these people.  Let’s just say many of those friendships were never rekindled.  I try to bring back gaming with other friends but it never worked out.  I even dabbled with online chat room or e-mail games.  None of it was the same.  I also tried LARPing (Live Action Roleplaying) with the Camarilla of Portland/ Vancouver, Washington.  This was a White Wolf World of Darkness LARPing group.  I played a Werewolf, in a Vampire dominated game and area.  I felt out of place, so I left.  I came back one more time, but found it the same.

Now even though I was not playing, I was still involved. I still bought my favorite game Shadowrun.  I started trimming down how much stuff I had at this time.  I got rid of all my Magic: The Gathering, most of my comics and most of my RPGs.  The only RPG I kept was Shadowrun.  Shadowrun is set in a Cyberpunk Future where Magic comes back.  I had become a huge fan of their Shamanic Magic system.  I started connecting with folks on the internet.  This was back I 1997.  So I started my own, Shadowrun site, the specialized in the Shamanic end of things.  One of the fans of the site was a writer for FASA, the company that created Shadowrun.  I started seeing my ideas in FASA published Sourcebooks, but I did not write them.  At this time I was sending them proposals.   In frustration of all this I shut down the site around 2000-2001.  I was tired of playing in someone else’s sandbox.  I got rid of a big chunk of the Shadowrun books.  I kept a few though. 

I have been out of the RPG world ever since.  I still check out what is going on, but I never buy anything.   I got into Superhero MMORPGs for 5 years, but that is not the same.  I miss the comradery the community.  Many of the games I loved are gone.  I left Shadowrun during the Third Edition, AD & D during the 2nd Edition and The World of Darkness during the first version.  I feel out of touch, but I have people I know who are still into it.  That is My Not So Humble Opinion.

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