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RPG Spring Cleaning

We’re doing some spring-cleaning here this weekend, and I decided it was long past time I made some more room on my shelves. To the local second-hand bookstore went my Dungeons & Dragons v3.5 core rulebooks and the Eberron Campaign Setting, Star Wars Revised Core Rulebook, the Serenity RPG, my Amazing Engine core and supplements, HERO System 5th Edition and the Sidekick supplement, Systems Failure, The Shadow of Yesterday and Nine Worlds. Into the recycling bin have gone Traveller: The New Era, Brilliant Lances (the T:NE starship combat strategy game), Car Wars Deluxe Edition and Shatterzone, as well as reams of character sheets, system summaries, campaign notes and printed PDF rulebooks, stuff I’ll never need to use again and, in all honesty, probably never actually put to any practical use in a game in the first place.

Am I giving up on the RPG hobby? No; I still have almost a shelf full of RPG product, including the D&D 4th Edition Player’s Handbook. Also, John Wick’s latest game, Houses of the Blooded, will be on its way to me as soon as John sorts out some unfortunate shipping issues. But if you’re a regular reader of this web log you’ve probably noticed the sense of gnawing dissatisfaction in my posts about gaming as far back as the Black Talon campaign, especially those games that I’m GMing.

I’ve made the odd cynical comment about how Cairns is pretty much a D&D town, and while Dungeons & Dragons might be fun to play in on the odd occasion, it’s not a game that I want to play regularly, let alone Game Master. The same goes for a lot of what are considered traditional RPGs. All the expected prep work doesn’t give me anywhere near the payoff that it ought. I honestly doubt I’ll find anyone in Cairns willing and able to take a punt on playing Houses or Lacuna or The Shadow of Yesterday or Burning Empires or even InSpectres.

So what’s the alternative? Well, I’ve been reading over and over again lately that RPGs should be enjoyed with friends. There are two problems, though.

Firstly – and this will read harsh, so my apologies in advance – with the exception of a few, the hobbyists I’ve met since moving to Cairns have been acquaintances instead of friends; I probably wouldn’t bother to know them if they weren’t in the hobby. Hell, since I wound that Star Wars Saga Edition game down and left the Feng Shui one, I’ve barely exchanged a word with any of the people I played with. In the past I’ve called them just to see how they were doing and they’ve seemed surprised, while the odd contact I’ve had from them was almost always to find out when the next game was.

Secondly, while it’s easy to talk about making friends into gamers, we don’t really have enough people we’re close enough to up here whom I’d be willing to try and introduce to the hobby, even if I were suggesting a game of InSpectres.

I’ve come to accept that I wasn’t getting a great deal out of the hobby, and given my current circumstances I’m unlikely to get what I want out of it. The thought of never being in another RPG session used to drive me up the wall. Nowadays, I’m happy with my current circumstances and there are areas of improvement other than gaming that I know will yield results if I invest my time and effort into them. My RPG books can sit on their shelf without eliciting pangs of longing in me.

I’m not giving up on the hobby, just setting it aside for the moment – regardless of however long that moment may turn out to be.

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