Das Schwarze Auge...or, The Dark Eye
Let me tell you a story. It's not terribly long, but it goes back a fair bit. You see, back in the very early 90s, I would get the latest Advance Comics and Diamond Distribution catalogs, and browse through them. I treated them as a sort of a wish list that I, realistically, never intended on completing. It was in one of those catalogs that I ran across a mention of some very popular German roleplaying game. Later, I was unable to recall the exact name, though I knew I'd remember if I ever saw the trade dress and title. I was fascinated. There was a very popular fantasy RPG other than Dungeons & Dragons?
However, as was often the case with foreign entertainment in the late 80s and early 90s, nothing ever showed up, and I forgot all about it after a while.
Then, in early 2016, I discovered a Kickstarter for something called "The Dark Eye". Reading the description, I learned it was none other than the German RPG I'd heard about all those years ago. Excited, I bought into the Kickstarter at a level that would get me a lot of the goodies and extras, such as spell cards, fate tokens, stickers, bookmarks, a soundtrack CD, and DICE!
I began to tell my friends -- well, and whoever would listen -- about the system (you want 1s on a d20 and lower is better) and setting (one that has only advanced in time in-game the 30 years in real time it has been released). I found it a fun departure from the standard of D&D, yet still familiar enough to offer some kind of starting point to try it. I printed out the Quickstart rules, and tried to show them what it was like. I was extraordinarily unsuccessful. One person got up and wandered off, later claiming that they forgot because they got pulled into a conversation elsewhere in the house, and while the other two seemed to enjoy it (for the most part), their schedules were such that I wasn't sure I'd be able to get them in a game.
Despite being disappointed in the reception, I resolved to continue to explain details; this time, however, I would focus on those elements a certain person liked, and only that person, rather than trying to tell everyone everything about it. For my part, I found myself more ensnared by the ruleset and setting, every time I read more about it.
Last year was disastrous for me from a gaming perspective as well. Nothing we did could get a regular game going, and the lack of anything like a regular game increased my stress level to the point I was beginning to have serious trouble sleeping. As you might have figured, I never did find a quorum for a game.
Fast forward to this evening. Another Kickstarter I had helped fund was the setting book, the Aventuria Almanac, had finally come in. It came with three coasters from prominent taverns in the setting, another die several maps, and a short story set in the world. For a short few minutes, I was all excited about it. Then, I began to think about what games I might run set in that world, and reality settled in again.
If you remember, I'd detailed a situation a couple of weeks back, where my hope to ever get a game going with my current circle of friends evaporated, leaving me a broken, sad man. A friend of mine, being candid because I asked, said that it was because I had no other responsibilities that I wanted a gaming group to play with weekly, and that gaming isn't important enough for most people to set aside time to play.
I still feel that it's no different than poker night or making a point to always shoot hoops with your friends: everyone's enjoyment is dependent upon your attendance. Oh, their enjoyment isn't completely ruined by your missing once, but I feel that there is a social contract when you agree to participate that you will be present more often than you're not.
Regardless, between my seemingly irrational hope for a regular group, plus people's lukewarm (at best) response to the game, I can't generate the energy to even read the books. And the books are GORGEOUS. I figure that I'll eventually want to read them, and when I do, I will enjoy them for their own sake. That day isn't today, though.
For now, I'm going to bed, since I work late tomorrow..
P.S. - I'm sure there's something I forgot to mention in here. Hopefully, not too much is missing.