Game Night… Consent?

I need to mention, up front, that I have not downloaded this thing from Monte Cook games (yet), so some of the thoughts that have been formed in my head are based on the threads/arguments/rants that I have read.  Please, forgive AND inform me if I have something skewed.

I’ve been playing tabletop role-playing games for over 3 decades.  Too say the least, I’m old… school. So when this RPG CONSENT CHECKLIST was published by Monte Cook Games and all the discussions began, I admittedly scratched my head.

Image result for rpg consent checklist

It just didn’t make sense to me.  Part of the reason for that was some of the more volatile threads I was seeing concerning using or not using this checklist and simply the point of it in the first place.  I just didn’t see why some folks felt the need to make all the proverbial noise they were making.  It’s just gaming.  Each to their own…

The other reason was that “old… school” thing.  Of all the gaming groups I have been with over the years, I just couldn’t recall a need for something like a consent checklist, and that included groups that were mixed with adults and kids and/or male and female.  If there was some concern over a type of content in the game, there was a discussion (group and/or individual) and we moved on with adjustments made.

As a DM/GM, I have always been upfront about the content of my campaigns.  When there was an issue over something in my campaign, it was discussed.  We resolved the issue and continued on.  The resolution was not always perfect, but I never passed judgement on those that brought up the issue.  I never felt any need.  I would rather work something out and understand the issue rather than be a jerk and hurt feelings and lose players.  So, maybe that’s why I’m initially uncertain about the value of this checklist.

With that said…

This checklist could be quite useful when trying to form a new group.  It is a convenient collection of possible contents in a campaign that a person can go through and give their acceptance (or lack thereof) to in a written form that the DM/GM can quickly read and get a preliminary understanding of potential player requirements.  He/She can then go through and choose players that appear to be the best fit for the intended content of the campaign.

When you don’t know people, admitting being squeamish or having issues with certain content might sometimes be difficult.  So, having a form like this makes it a little less personal than having to explain issues face to face.  It’s a win then and carries some value.

I don’t know that I will use it since I am the type of person that is more than willing to discuss these things directly and without judgement.  But if a possible player approached me and gave a checklist to me, I would not be offended in the least.  Some folks are just better at communicating that way.  I would go over it and see it as an opportunity to begin a conversation with that person/potential player.

That brings me to the next point I’d like to make…

Who gives a shit if some people want to use this checklist and some don’t?  I guess I don’t see the point of all the “angst” this has seemed to create.  It’s a tool that can be used or not.  It might help some socially awkward folks better communicate with potential gaming groups about concerns they have over the content of a game.  If it helps better inform, what’s the problem?  If you don’t want to use it, so what?  It’s up to the individual to decide whether to use this checklist and whether to try and interact with other individuals that decide the opposite way.  If you don’t like how a DM/GM handles things, you don’t have to be a part of that group… walk away.

Look.  I understand that gaming has many personal facets to it.  I have gotten to know gamers over the years way better sometimes than casual friends. It’s amazing what you learn about people when you play RPGs with them. There is potential to strike some deep chords with individuals with certain types of situations, even if it is just in a game.  I have even creeped myself out while running a game because of situations the players helped me create.  I understand where this checklist idea probably came from.

I still don’t understand why, though, this has seemed to boil up like it has.  I think some folks are being too rash about this.  I don’t think it’s right or wrong to use or not use a checklist like this.  I don’t think it’s right or wrong to have conversations about possible content in a game before starting that game.  I don’t think it’s right or wrong to have a combination of these things.  I don’t see a reason to judge people either way.

The fear of being a bit vulnerable is, I guess, why this seemed to escalate.  When there is concern over the content of a game, folks with the concern must admit that concern making themselves feel, at least, a bit vulnerable.  Just discussing the possible use of this checklist makes folks think about vulnerability, and I suppose, opinions are strong because of it.

Again, though, I’m going to admit to not understanding the tension this has created.  Some people like the idea of the checklist, some don’t.  There’s no need to argue about whether it should be used and be butt-hurt if there is disagreement.  Quite frankly, if you’re going to try and ram your side of an argument down my throat, I’m not going to be interested in wanting you around as a fellow gamer (or person) anyway.

Everybody has the freedom to choose.  Gamers can choose with whom they will group up.  If part of the criteria for joining or not joining a group is the use of the checklist, so be it.  You do you, and I’ll do me.

I would appreciate hearing from you folks about his.  Do I have this wrong?  What other insight is there concerning the consent checklist in gaming?

As always, if you like what you’ve read here, click the like button.  If you have something to say about this post, please, leave a comment.  I always want to hear what other people think.  Conversation is much more fun than monologue.

Type to you later 🙂

Long Distance Tabletop Gaming. I CAN BE TAUGHT

cropped-game-dice.jpg I have been a gamer for over 30 years now. Yep, I’m one of those old farts from the 80s that worshiped Gygax; I guess I still do to some degree 😉

When I moved from my home town to establish myself as an “adult” in the world, I moved away from my gaming friends.  It was a sad thing for me for sure.

But I didn’t set too idle.  I found another gaming group as soon as I could.  I have been fortunate to not be shy or self-conscious about being a tabletop gamer.  So, I have freely talked about it when the chance has presented itself.  That helped me to meet other gamers in my new town all those years ago, and I was able to continue my hobby for a while longer.

Things change, though, as they always do.

I played with different RPG groups for quite some time after I successfully started meeting gamers where I lived.  We played a variety of games including Alternity, Vampire and Shadowrun.  I established a couple of good friendships, too, making life in my new location something enjoyable.  But changes and obligations in my life and other people’s lives helped reduce the amount of game nights to effectively zero after a while.

It happens.  I wasn’t friends with all the people on my gaming groups.  Sometimes we quit getting along.  Others moved away.  Others still, had to put gaming aside for a myriad of other reasons.  So, the groups faded and others quit forming.

I went through a dry spell until my daughter got old enough to really be interested in the fact that dad “had been a gamer”.  “Had been,” Bah!

I took advantage of her interest and taught her and her friends how to play D&D.  We gamed on Friday nights for a little over a year.  Then, as the kids evolved, they decided that they wanted to do it on their own – it’s not cool to keep hanging with the parents, apparently; heh, heh, heh.  And I can’t say that I had a problem with it.  I had taught them which was a very rewarding experience, and I understood their point of view.

Besides, I had other prospects floating around again with gamers closer to my own age.  So, I transitioned into a another gaming group to play Shadowrun.  They were a pretty good group, except for one.  He refused to get along with me.  I don’t know why.  Maybe it was me, but I’ll never know.  And that was my last group again for a bit.

Until recently…

Technology is a wonderful but sometimes scary thing.  I make a living in the electronics industry, so I embrace tech to get a paycheck (hey, that rhymed… yay me).  I’m so very glad that I don’t shun knew ways to do things with the help of new technology.  That is especially the case now because it has gotten me gaming again with some old hometown gamers/friends and one that lives over an hour away from me.

I’ve discovered the “virtual tabletop”.  My best friend (who lives 10 hours away) and I decided a while back that there had to be some way to get the gaming ball rolling again.  So, he and I started looking around for the means to run a tabletop RPG long distance.  We checked out a few sites and read a lot of forum threads trying to find what would work for us.  We kept coming back to one that stood out… a piece of software called Fantasy Grounds.

My buddy bought it and decided to try and get a Shadowrun game going through it.  The rest of our long distance group waited while he worked to make things happen.  Then we would download Fantasy Grounds and give it a go.  We were all pretty stoked.

But once again, that whole real life thing got in the way.  My buddy just didn’t have time to bring things together enough to start a Shadowrun game.  But he did sing the praises to the Fantasy Grounds software.  So, things kind of died on the vine… until I got pissed off about not having an RPG group.

I decided that I would make the time to learn Fantasy Grounds and get something going.  I announced a few months back that I was going to purchase Fantasy Grounds myself, along with a couple of the D&D 5E core rule-book modules for FG.  I also announced that I was putting together a home-brew campaign and that my buddy and the rest of the long distance group had first crack at being a part of my new group.  If not, I was going to find others – that’s how “angry” I was about not having a tabletop gaming group.

Needless to say, they all jumped on board.  Apparently they knew me well enough to know that my agitation was going to drive me to make this happen.  They let me know that they were looking forward to it.  That made me feel pretty good.  Thanks, guys.

Well, that ball did get rolling.  I am now running a D&D 5E home-brew campaign in my own custom world.  We are still learning Fantasy Grounds, but it’s going great.  FG is a rather powerful tool that runs the 5E game mechanics quite well, and it’s customizable to the nines.

We use Discord for voice chat and FG for game mechanic resolution and character sheets, etc.  All we had to do was be willing to learn, which for a gamer, is not hard at all 😉

It did not take long at all to adapt to sitting in front my computer and having only voice (we don’t all have webcams) and the FG interface to run/play a tabletop game.  The others in the group have all said the same thing.  Theater of the mind works quite well with our virtual tabletop.  We are all having a good time, and all we had to do was learn how to use the technology already available to us.

The software does not need a high-end computer or super-fast internet connection.  We need just enough bandwidth to handle voice and swap some data for the game.

Gaming once a week again – long distance – has been a nice restoration of my hobby.  Don’t let miles separate you from your gaming friends.  Don’t let yourself be deprived of something you enjoy.

I (WE) CAN BE TAUGHT…

If you have questions about long distance gaming, feel free to ask.  I’ll be happy to tell you how my group handles different things.  Fantasy Grounds is a little pricey, but I have decided it’s well worth it.  AND… only the DM/GM has to actually purchase it.  Players can download it and play for free.  That’s not to say, though, that things like Roll 20 don’t work.  We just decided the investment in FG was worth it.  It has been…

Thanks for stopping by.  As always, if you like what you’ve read here, click that like button.  If you have questions or comments, please, leave them.  Conversations are much more fun than monologues.

Type to you later…

That’s NOT How I Thought It Would Go…

After my last game night and post about Game Night, Session 6, I got to thinking about how the story unfolded during the game.  It did not play out how I thought it likely would.  That is the gift and curse of tabletop role-playing games (RPGs).

A quick primer on tabletop RPGs…

For those that don’t know, a tabletop RPG is a game where a group of people play/act out an adventure/story as a group of characters they have created.  These characters are the heroes/villains of the story.  The “game” part is the rules system that helps determine the outcome of actions the characters take during this adventure when there is a chance of failure or success.  The “play/act” part is basically “theater of the mind”.  A character is created with attributes linked to the game system rules.  The player adds color and depth to the character that is appropriate to the setting in which the story/adventure takes place.  Then the group sits around the table talking about what their characters do as the story plays out.  The role-playing is when each player assumes the role of his/her character in the story.

Then the “other player” is the Dungeon Master (DM) or Game Master (GM).  It’s the DM who acts as referee for the game system and manages the rest of the game world in which the players play their characters.  This person is responsible for supplying the setting and general plot hooks for the adventure/story in which the characters are the heroes/villains.

That’s what I do.  I’m the DM.

Back to the point of this 😉

So, anyway, session 6 was meant to be a showdown with Slythis – the villain that was harassing the characters as they tried to make their way to a town (Piketon) a good distance from their home town (Braiton) to get information about the plot they find themselves in.  As the events unfolded in the past game nights, the players decided it was time to force a direct encounter with this menace.

And so, as DM, I worked to accommodate just that.  I fleshed out Slythis for game mechanics (needed to determine the outcome of the pending fight).  I also set things up so that the group of 3 had some potential allies (the merchant and his group) for the pending fight.  Finally, I made a few notes about how I thought the encounter should happen.  That involved an attempt by Slythis to infiltrate the camp by stealth and make surprise attacks.  Then the fight would ensue, and hopefully, the outcome would be a victory for the players.

Well… ultimately… that is kind of what happened… kind of. . . …

This is where the game mechanics come in… I rolled dice as prescribed by the game system rules to determine if Slythis could slip into the camp area undetected for his surprise attack.  He could not.  In fact, he was detected much sooner than that because Theren reminded me of the fact that he could sense the nasty magical dagger Slythis used.  That was part of the story I helped create. On top of that, my rolls for his stealth were not good enough to beat rolls by the characters standing watch to see if they detected the presence of an enemy.

Yep, the encounter went right off my intended path (the curse part of tabletop RPGs… anything can happen).  Now I had to start winging it based on the information about Slythis up to this point and reacting to the players’ actions with their characters.  On top of that, the merchant’s group now had to become more than just “warm bodies” for the fight.  They had to be more… dynamic.  That really is the “gift” part of tabletop RPGs.  Now even I, as DM – the creator of the base story, had no real idea what was going to happen next.

When I run a tabletop RPG, I consider myself just one component of the story.  Sure, I have to create the setting (or use published material as an aid) and kick off a scenario/plot.  But I rely on the players to help create the story.  It is OUR story and adventure.

Nope, it did not go how I thought it would go.  But that might have been the best part the other night.  I wasn’t sure how it was going to play out.  So, in spite of my plans/ideas, even I can’t wait to find out what happens next 🙂

Thanks for taking your time to read this.  Let me know what you think.  Click that like button and/or leave a comment.  A conversation is typically better than a monologue 😉

 

Oops… It’s been a bit

O_o

Sorry…

I didn’t realize how long it’s been since my last post.  I’ve been caught up in other stuff, I guess.  And when I’ve had time to do something like… I don’t know… MAKE A F@CKING POST… I seem to be doing other things.

I have no excuses. I have simply let myself not write a post <shrugs sheepishly>

So, anyway…

The virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans went okay.  Our 6-man team had fun and brought the car home in pretty good shape; that was our goal.  We didn’t have a ton of drama or intense racing, but we gained positions in a split that was much tougher than we thought it would be.

D&D

The group played a short session the other night.  Differences have been worked out, I guess, because it was the same group.  That, in my opinion, is a good thing.

There is not much to mention since we were mostly recapping and getting our heads back into the game.  Besides, I had to cut it short to watch my St. Louis Blues win the Stanley Cup (HELL YEAH!!!).

What is worth mentioning, though, is that the group has decided to try and force a showdown with their goblin stalker, Slythis.  We left the session with them working out a camping situation on the road to Piketon.  A small merchant group is sharing their camp site – the chosen site for this possible encounter.  This merchant and his guards are well-equipped and seasoned.  They are, at the moment, considered by Bran, Fang and Theren to be an asset for the pending confrontation with Slythis and his nasty dagger.  We are planning on running session 6 Sunday night.  I will definitely let you know how things turn out.

Well, I guess that’s it for the moment.  Again, I’m sorry for not keeping up with my posts.  I’ll get myself back in a better routine 😉

Another One in the Books…

Well, like so many others, I’ve decided to acknowledge the end of another year. I’m not going to provide any horse shit reflections and promises of great futures, though. I try to be a realist and keep an open mind. I also don’t get overly wound up about things unless… Just don’t mistake my apparent lack of emotion/excitement for apathy.

So, 2018…

I woke up breathing every day of that year.

I got through life in decent order, I think. I have a job, a good marriage, a decent place to live and a kid that’s doing pretty well for herself as she pursues a means to live life on her own.

I’m still fat. I did not exercise last year like I needed to. I have no excuses. I just did not have a drive to be “in shape”. I’m going to suppose that it has to do with… I have no fucking clue what it has to do with.

I kept a job with potential last year. I didn’t mind going to work. While I can’t deny wanting to set the place on fire (with some folks still in said place) now and then and watching it burn, that desire was not high on my list of things to accomplish on any given day.

Now 2019…

I’d be bullshitting you if I told you that I don’t look to the future with some degree of desire to accomplish… something. But once again… I’m a realist. I’m not going to sit here and type out a bunch of fluff that indicates anything resembling a “New Year’s resolution”. Like I said… no horse shit.

I intend to wake up breathing every day this coming year.

I want to get through life in decent order throughout this coming year. I will work to keep a good marriage, a decent job, a passable place to live and will support my daughter in hopes that she makes progress in her pursuit of an independent life doing what she wants to do with it.

I hope that there isn’t too much bad shit that comes along in my life this year.

I would like to lose weight… you know… be less fat. The wife and I have been discussing some options to begin working on that. I think what we have discussed is possible and will lead to being less fat and a bit more healthy. I’m not going to spout a bunch of shit about feeling motivated and being ready to “push it” in 2019. I would just like to do a little more to start getting the weight down and the longevity up.

As far as the decent job? Well, I’ll just get up and go to work each day and try to get shit done. I have a few things that I would like to see happen with this business and my place in it, and my work ethic will keep me motivated to try and make those things happen. If not, I will have at least learned something and end up on a course that allows for a job that I will continue to not mind performing. Remember… I’m a realist.

I will continue to post in this blog when my muse slaps me in the back of the head.

I will play games… I will be sim racing again. I am teaming up with a guy that I’ve been friends with since I started iRacing. I’m looking forward to running some endurance races with him. Y’all will probably read about it some 🙂

I might be starting up a tabletop RPG in the not too distant future. There are possible opportunities for such that I am going to explore. I miss tabletop gaming and would like to get back into it a bit… nothing heavy… just once or twice a month.

I will continue hanging with my best friend whether it’s online or in person. I’ve known him for over 30 years now. We don’t always agree on things. We sometimes go for stretches of time where we don’t talk and “hang out” much. But we’re like brothers, I think, and that is enough.

Sounds like I might be kinda busy this coming year… I hope so

Now that I’ve regaled you with my less-than-exciting thoughts about last year and the coming year, I hope y’all have a decent year and get through whatever crap life throws your way. That’s what I plan to do 😉

20 Followers… woo hoo???

I just noticed that I have 20 followers.  At first, I was like, “Very cool!”  Then I noticed something else.  I saw that one of the followers is me.  I don’t remember following myself, but okay… <shrugs>.  Then I noticed that 2 of my followers are the same person.  So, I guess, technically I have 18 followers.  I can’t count myself as a follower because I’m stuck with me O_O

It still feels good.  So, thank you, followers.  I hope you’re enjoying some portion of the stuff that gets out of my head and onto this electronic medium.  Feel free to let me know what you think of any of it.  I’m eager to learn what I could do better, and/or hear that someone likes what I do here… or a different opinion, some advice or random passing thought.  😉

Until next time…

Bumpy Start to ’18

roughride

The holidays went pretty well; had some good visits with friends and family; enjoyed the gifts from Christmas.  Then December 26th happened.  Type A flu struck a big chunk of the family.  That sucked.  We were laid up for most of the holiday vacation.  We’re still recovering from it.

Then I’ve decided to change careers.  I’m getting into project management.  It was a tough decision when the choice was presented to me.  So, after giving notice to my current employer, I’m anxiously awaiting the set time to start my new career.  It’s a little scary, but I’m hopeful and looking forward to it.  Needless to say, it’s been on my mind quite a bit.

On top of that stuff, I’ve been mentally prodding myself to get back into my hobby that is iRacing.  I have been on-and-off with it for about 2 years now.  It’s not that I haven’t jumped in my rig and raced periodically.  I have even been running in the Majors League during this time, too, but I have not been heavily involved like I used to be.  I do miss the way it used to be, but I am also a little apprehensive about jumping back into it with both feet.  I guess those waters will be tested tomorrow night with the first Lone Star Sports Car Series race in around 2 years.  Gonna knock the dust off the McLaren MP4-12c.

PacMajors MP4 RidinShotgun-1

I’m going to have to get better at time management, too.  I want to put time in to my online racing, but I also want to keep in touch with my best friend, AND I want to keep writing.  These things have to be squeezed in around work and time with my family (the most important piece of this puzzle I call my life).  Wish me luck…