tek2way: Anime - Valkyrie (Default)
It is effectively Monday now. I am basically 8 days away from leaving town for six days. It's finally starting to get real for me now. Despite the hour, I sent messages to all parties I anticipate seeing while I'm there, and began to plan what I want to do, and when. The list of things I want to accomplish includes the following:

  • Eat at the Pantheon restaurant, maintained by Rick's wife, Brandy.

  • Go to the comic/game store that Rick frequents.

  • Check out the Endicott grocery store, as well as hopefully find a Wegman's to visit. (Research for a possible move.)

  • Visit my cousin, Harriett, for at least a few hours, if not a couple of days.

  • Go see Niagara Falls.

  • Finally meet -- and have lunch with -- my friend Dan from Buffalo. (We've been LJ/FB friends for.. 15 years now? Dear gods!)

  • Introduce Rick's kids -- my "adopted" niece and nephew -- to Dungeons & Dragons.

  • Go see a movie in that awesome theater that Rick always bragged about.

  • Check out a local metaphysical shop

It's a full list, huh?

I know that some of the items seem positively pedestrian, considering I'll be visiting a state that I've never been in before, yet I figure that something as simple as having lunch at the Pantheon and seeing a movie, since it's in a small central New York town, will be unique enough to make it fun to try.

Now, I will also begin making out my list of things to pack. I've already kinda worked out most of what will be in my carry-on: iPhone (and ear buds & charging cable), Kindle (and charging cable), Nintendo Switch (and charging cable and games in hard-shell case), D&D 5e Player's Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master's Guide, an adventure that I will run for the kids*, dice (mine; we will go get sets for them on Friday before we play), a pad of paper, and maybe a box of Magic: The Gathering decks.

Oh my! Look at the time! I better get some sleep!

* - My nephew is a big Star Wars buff, so his fighter will get a sword with a blade made of red light, which extinguishes when not being used, and my niece -- a Whovian through and through -- will receive a short scepter which makes a high-pitched whine while she's using a knowledge skill (Arcana, History, Nature, Religion), Perception, Investigation, or Medicine.
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tek2way: Nature - Daylit Clouds (Nature - Daylit Clouds)
Tonight, I played in our till-this-point-monthly Ravenloft game. It was a lot of fun, even if I spent the game being contrary and avoiding combat. (A dwarf? Avoiding combat? Well, when you take a fireball for entering a room, then take some magic missiles going across said room, only to watch your party mate take NINE magic missiles in one attack, I think most anyone would say "fuck this shit, I'm out!"*

Now, while gaming is the subject of tonight's post, it's also not about this game. You see, tonight was the first time we gathered since my last attempt to get us together to play MY game. Well, when the DM asked us if we were okay going to biweekly, I told them I was, since I had nothing else going on. When he looked puzzled, another player tried to explain that we'd missed my last game, and I quickly responded that I wasn't running that ever again.

Our pizza's arrival kept it from getting awkward, and by the time I returned to the table, I'd resolved to explain myself. I told them how I was just really upset because everyone cancelled last minute. I told them how my work week had been particularly rough, how I'd really looked forward to it, and how I fell into a serious depression as a result. I explained that I wasn't against running something again, particularly a new system (as our DM had just explained for Savage Worlds), but that I needed some downtime before I would run another game.

I'd like to think it went over well. We gamed, and I came home, tired and exhausted, but feeling pretty good (I helped a friend do some stuff related to her moving into an apartment, since I am working tomorrow).

The next thing to aim for is getting them to buy-in on another game at some point. Wish me luck!

* - For the record, I actually played that song when I was telling the DM that I was running away. :)
tek2way: Nature - Dark Sunset (Nature - Dark Sunset)
I might've actually posted today, but I got sucked into nerding out regarding a recent meme on Facebook. "What would my class/archetype be if I was a D&D character?" just begged for me to answer in as detailed a manner as possible.

I did it for my friend James. Then, I did it for Cyn. I briefly answered it for Jenna. I did it for Chase, and finished by mentioning something for Craig. Yet, now it's 130am, and I have to go to bed.

Still, though I must head to dreamland now, at least I spent the evening typing out thoughts in my head. That's always a sign of a good day, even when it's gone bad.
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tek2way: Nature - Dark Sunset (Nature - Dark Sunset)
This is an entry I posted on April 25, 2016. I added it to this journal on April 25, 2017, but backdated it, so it was inline with any other posts I may have made, to better understand my mental state at the time).


I was off of work today. Much like Peter Gibbons from "Office Space", I spent it doing nothing: sleeping, absentmindedly browsing Facebook, or running Molten Core on my WoW characters to obtain some rare item so I can make a Nifty Thing before my account expires on Sunday. I switched from one thing to the next as the urge struck me, or as I got tired.

This feels like one of the first days off I've had in a while. I can't explain it, since I'm getting my two days a week without fail. In an attempt to explain it, though, I guess it's because I've had Things to Do most of my off days this month. Until this week, Saturday was my one definite day off every week. What is particularly telling is that I can't remember my other days off each of those weeks.

The first two Saturdays of the month saw me trying to wrap up my 13th Age game (which somehow grew into a Real Game™, even though my plan was "fun little bullshit game we do for 2-3 weeks"). Of course, the first of those two sessions were broken up by Justin showing, and a great deal of discussion on matters spiritual. My heart wasn't in it the next week, and it ran longer than I wanted, due in equal parts to the story being longer than I anticipated and because I wasn't able to rein things in and propel the game forward when necessary. To say I was dissatisfied about how that game ended would be an understatement.

The next week was the first session back with Travis's game. We'd had an impromptu party at Jon's the night before, and again had discussions of a spiritual nature to go with our alcohol. We started the game back at level 15, and it was fun, but I realize now that we had one direction to go: into battle, which took up the whole session. Craig participated as a stand-in for Justin, who was feeling under the weather, and we laughed and gamed until we had to call it a night.

This week was Dane's birthday weekend, and my Saturday was supposed to be spoke for all day. However, I'd begun to have trouble sleeping again, and was getting exhausted quite severely during the week. I found my neck and shoulders were in an almost sharp pain at times, I was so tense (this whole thing coincided with the District Front End Coordinator staying on us all week about what we weren't doing right or turning in -- even other CSMs were commenting about it in our group MMS messages). Heck, I'd even gotten used to a near-constant stabbing at my right temple, that only abated when I dozed during my lunch. I had hope that being off from work, and being able to just be around people I liked would help.

The Friday night before Dane's birthday, though (despite spending the evening at the Leaky Cauldron and feeling somewhat recharged), I still had trouble sleeping. Or rather, I had trouble sleeping WELL. I was spending more and more time asleep, but wasn't feeling any better when I woke. I'd wake during the night, and maybe mess around on Facebook for an hour or two, but I was going to bed early enough that a brief interlude in my resting shouldn't have mattered. I woke at 10am, and promptly fell back asleep after I finished breakfast. I woke enough to rouse myself sometime after 11am, which just had me agitated, since I knew I was running late.

I was late trying to get to the place for Laser Tag (after struggling to find clothes I could "get dirty"), and Google Maps misdirected me something fierce. I gave up and came home, only to fall asleep HARD for the next two hours. That should have been a sign. I woke, picked up something for Dane, and grabbed Brian so he could go. We had the most difficult time getting there, because it seemed that every direction I chose to get us there was congested with cars, all the way up to the section of Winchester right before the last major turn. That probably was a sign, too.

We talked and ate and had a good afternoon, which was pretty fun, because it was unstructured and spontaneous and had no purpose besides fellowship. When the discussion turned toward starting the game, I realized I had NO energy. I wasn't just tired, but I was kinda flopped like a rag doll on the couch while people began prepping things like bringing in the table and wiping surfaces down.

I joked about playing from the couch, and was told as long as I "don't fall asleep" there. I *knew* I was going to fall asleep, so I got a chair and sat at the table.
My heart wasn't in the game, from the moment we started back up. First, I couldn't remember what we did the previous week. Then, I knew absolutely NOTHING we could do to overcome the first immediate obstacle. I said something in frustration, and Travis asked if that was in-character, so I decided it was. Turns out, that was something to move the story forward. Despite that, though, I felt my energy draining faster and faster. I tried eating some more dinner (love Julie's potato salad!), and it helped a scant hair, but the lethargy returned.

Finally, I wanted nothing more than to get up and go home, in the middle of a combat round. I wanted no more part of gaming at all. I wanted my bed and at least the hope of 9-10 hours of sleep. I used the bathroom, where I realized it was only going to get even worse. I could have literally fallen asleep in there, sitting on the toilet. I came out and said I was going to pumpkin after combat.

I don't really recall what happened after that, until Brian and I were leaving. My eyes hurt, my neck hurt, my shoulders hurt.. I couldn't make myself feel better. What I do remember is that Brian and I talked about how much work has grown to suck, and we talked from when we left until we pulled into his driveway. I explained how overwhelmed I felt about work, and how I didn't know how to fix things and make it better. Brian vented a bit, too, but I only remember he did, because I can't recall what his specifics were.

I left, and made it home alright, but when I got in, I went STRAIGHT to sleep. It was only around 1am, and I didn't have to get up until 11am for work, but I slept almost all of that, and STILL felt tired when I got up.

Work wasn't quite as bad for me Sunday, so I left feeling not as exhausted, but I still came home and went to bed. And today has been, as I said, off and on sleeping all day. I'm about to go to bed again, and hopefully I'll sleep until I have to get up for work.

My problem is that, in the last week, my stress related to work has ramped up a great deal, and things that were helping to take the edge off, no longer do the trick. Gaming should be my release, but instead, I just can't care about it, especially the idea of my own game. I almost don't even care about Travis's game or Leif's game, for all that I called myself excited about them. I'm short-tempered and miserable. What exacerbates everything is that I just *know* that if I quit the games, I'll get worse.

Between stress related to maintaining my job (so I can afford to live where I do and keep my car), the stress of doing my job (that place is a fucking madhouse at the best of times), and the stress of knowing my lease was coming up (and it was only Thursday that I learned that I'm okay there), I don't really enjoy being at home much, and I *really* don't enjoy being at work. Those few hours where I spend time with Leigh Ann or at the Leaky Cauldron are pretty much the only times I'm not constantly reminded of how much pressure I'm under.

I don't know if I can keep playing, if something doesn't break to relieve me of some of this stress. The spiritual discussions helped, as did fellowship with fellow Norse tradition folks, but it either isn’t enough, or isn’t happening enough. I'm unhappy about it, and I may still head over to sit on the couch and watch (if allowed) or nap as necessary, but I can no longer promise I will play.
tek2way: Anime - Valkyrie (D&D - Archer Snob)
First, I want to say that I have one dose of my antibiotic left, and I finally feel damned near back to normal. I might keep the sudafed going for a couple more days, just to be sure, but I've been coughing up some crap, where before nothing was coming up. Huzzah. :) Spring -- and it's associated pollen spikes -- can go fuck itself. Sorry, Nature. In this, we are foes. :)

I've been thinking about gaming lately. Namely, what type of D&D-style character would I play, assuming a standard fantasy setting? I find myself unable to easily answer this question. After all, I have played some archetypes that I will forever associate certain characters with. For example, if I think of archers, I'm going to think of Ashe Haydon. Paladins? Aric Seles. Larcenous, yet loyal, rogue with a bit of magic? Joren Brimstone. Repentant holy monk? Tedros Shuian. Gruff dwarf cleric? Brotto Ungart.

So, I'm left wondering what sort of character that I would choose to play, if I got the chance again. (Examples are all from Pathfinder, my personal choice for RPG.)

I thought about tying in some Norse elements into a character (wolf shaman -- Druid; Boreal bloodline -- Sorcerer). I thought about appealing to my love of space (Starsoul bloodline -- Sorcerer). I thought about attempting to be a sneaky character (Infiltrator -- Ranger; Scout -- Rogue). I considered picking a weapon and trying to be the best with it (Archer, Polearm Master, Two-handed Fighter, Two-Weapon Warrior, Weapon Master -- Fighter). I've even thought about a harrier-style character (Mobile Fighter -- Fighter; Skirmisher -- Ranger; Sniper -- Rogue). Finally, I figured I could always make a wizard (Fire element specialization).

Some of these appeal to me more than others. They are all interesting. I could theoretically make a multiclass character that utilizes one or more themes (Wolf Shaman/Skirmisher; Fire Wizard/Sniper; Cleric (Weather Domain)/Stormborn Bloodline Sorcerer).

Yet, at the end of the day, it's the personality I must fill the race/class with that matters.

Ashe was quiet and driven, and let his bow do his talking. Aric was diplomatic, but capable of letting his morality get him into trouble (and make him flap his gums when he shouldn't). Joren was a smartass, but a true friend. Brotto was fast friends with his adventuring group, even choosing to emulate the monk in the group. :)

The urge to redo Ashe is overwhelming. Indeed, with the Archer subtype for the Fighter class, coupled with a level of Ranger, Ashe would again be a force to be reckoned with, but with some nifty new tricks. I've always thought it would be fun to make a character whose signature weapon is some kind of polearm (or spear). I think the Skirmisher subtype for Ranger sounds neat, in that you give up spells for the ability to perform various nonmagical tricks.

I guess I have some more thought to put into this exercise, before I can say I know what I would do. I work in the morning, so I am going to call it a night and leave these notes around so that -- should the urge strike someone -- suggestions or brainstorms can be made.
tek2way: D&D - Dungeon Master (D&D - Dungeon Master)
I get back into updating my LJ on something of a regular basis, and what do I learn? That I'm currently in a "not interested in WoW" mood. Sheesh. I hope that vicious circle is over. I like putting thoughts on "paper." In fact, I might even say that it's infectious. The more I write, even about mundane topics like work and grocery shopping, the more I want to continue writing. On that note, I'm going to tread into familiar territory: gaming.

I am 36. I have been into games (RPG, CCG, Video, Board, MMO) for pretty much 2/3 of my life. Even when I back off of it, I still find myself wishing... hoping... that I could find a game that I can play, or people with whom I could run a game. Of course, what always seems to happen is that the level of enthusiasm is uneven. I might be excited to play a game, but those I would ask are disinterested or, at best, lukewarm to the idea. Sometimes, I am the one who is cool to the idea.

I realize now that it's no longer enough to say, "we're doing a game," and running with it. My time is more precious, if only to me, and I am not willing to spend such a valuable resource on a game that doesn't hold my interest. That isn't to say that the concept of the game isn't interesting, but I know what I like, and I have to accept that what I like may not always translate well to a tabletop game. In some cases, it's the expectations based on the exposure to the genre.

For instance, in Shadowrun, I love the idea of a decker: a console cowboy, a hacker. Taming the lawless wilds of cyberspace, or blending in and making a name for yourself. However, My experience with the decker is from William Gibson books like Neuromancer and movies like Johnny Mnemonic and Hackers. The big thing there is that the hero knows exactly what to do with their deck to accomplish their goals. I, however, am a more direct person in real life, so the subtlety is lost on me. Thus, while I like cyberpunk and deckers, I cannot play one the way I think I should, because I have different expectations from what is possible in the system.

What, exactly then, am I looking for in a game? What types of games can I be happy with? First, I like a game where law enforcement is more of a hint of a threat than an overt presence. I know this sounds like I'm a loose cannon, but the reality is that I would rather have my character brought to an end by dying in a fight than "the cops arrest you." This tends to be more in the realm of fantasy than sci-fi, in my opinion (though the threat of law enforcement works for something like Firefly, which is predominantly wild west-ish). I'm a hero, dang it. Let me carve justice with the edge of my sword. :)

Another thing that I look for is immersive role-playing. That is, we can forget about the fact that we're playing a game, and just cut loose. The rules are still there for adjudicating conflicts, of course, but aren't so prevalent that they hang like a cloud over all gameplay. A great example of this was the first session of Stephen's first Caeln game. We had the back and forth and interaction so endlessly that night that 7 hours passed by in the blink of an eye.

The final thing is admittedly because I want my cake, and to eat it, too. I like how 3e/PFRPG (3e) has a very modular way of approaching builidng classes, but what happens all too often is that I, at least, get so worked up wanting to see myself with that "level 20 perfect build," that I assembled at level 2, that I get impatient going through the levels to get to it. On the flip side, while rules light systems emphasize my second point (immersive gameplay), I'm left with no mechanical reason to see the character advance. Castles & Crusades (C&C) is a very simple and elegant system. It has the basic d20 resolution mechanic, the six stats, but that's where similarities end.

The question is, how do I utilize the rules light style of Castles & Crusades with the modularity of 3e/PFRPG? At first glance, plugging on Skills or Feats would seem to do it. However, not all of those work for such a simple system or, if they do, they would require some work to get them to be a good fit. Maybe I can streamline 3e, instead? Then again, C&C doesn't really allow multiclassing, so part of THAT issue is removed. With that being the case, perhaps I could instead move over some of the class features instead?

What did I want out of a game when I was younger? Back in the 2e days, we never really got a game to last very long, but I think we were in it more for the treasure. In 3e, treasure was nice and still desired, but skills, feats, class features, and multiclassing all moved up in importance, because those were a more immediate reward. After all, 3e introduced the concept of "character wealth by level," a chart that would have shot pretty much every single 2e game I ever played in. So, we found value in adding skill ranks, taking new feats, and getting access to new class abilities.

Maybe the next time I assemble a game, I can get the other players to admit exactly what they want out of their game. I want to be a larger-than-life hero, have some choices in character customization, and have it streamlined enough that we don't have to spend an entire gaming session leveling up.

I am ready to grab at least a couple of friends and see about putting together a semi-regular game, because the world needs heroes.

...and my creativity spikes when I'm actually using it. Go figure. :)


tek2way: Anime - Valkyrie (Default)

July 2017


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