This isn’t really about my state of mind, but it is something that has been running around in my head for a while. Roleplaying games are one of the things I haven’t really had a lot of time for since I got to Texas, even though I really enjoy them. There are a number of different reasons for this. One, while I have friends in the area, most of them aren’t really that interested in RPGs, and that’s cool. It just means I need to find other people who are interested. Two, because of my irregular work schedule, it can be hard to have a specific day for gaming, even should I find a group. Three, it has been my experience that the easiest way to start a gaming group is to run the game yourself. The problem here is that it has been so long since I have really run a game that I just don’t have the confidence in my abilities that I used to; especially running a game with relative strangers, confidence is pretty key – I don’t want to look like an idiot. I tried to run a D&D game not long after I left Menninger, mostly for people in my step-down program, and the complexity of the system, my lack of practice, and being the only one who really knew the rules meant it failed badly – which is basically all on me, because I thought I would be more up to the challenge than I was. So I needed a game that is relatively simple, but that is also pretty cool, and easy to pick up – one that would be easy to jump into at irregular meetings.
I think I finally found a game that meets my criteria. It’s called Dungeon World, and it’s a very cool game. It’s very narrative, moreso that most games I’ve played, run, or even read before – this means that the players have to describe what they’re doing and who their characters are. Character creation is very simple, and the system itself is relatively easy to pick up and learn. It’s great as a DM (Dungeon Master, the guy who kind of controls the world around the players), because most of what I do is ask questions and describe what’s going on; there’s very little mechanical work for me to do. The system is very modular, so it is easy to create new classes and such; there are already quite a few that have been created by the greater gaming community that I like. It’s more freeform than I generally have used; instead of having the characters operate in an established setting, the players and I would essentially create the setting around the characters as we play – through things they mention or questions I ask. Oh, and the basic parts of the game are available for free.
My worry is that, as a very narrative game, it will require a lot of creativity on the part of both myself and the players – and a lot of mine will have to come off the top of my head, as I create dangers, odd situations, and monsters to fight essentially on the fly. I’ve had periods of creativity in my past – I used to think I would be a fantasy/science fiction writer, and I was in the middle of writing a fantasy novel when depression really set in. But lately, I haven’t had a lot of creative juices flowing. Maybe it’s because I haven’t had a constant need for it; gaming used to help a lot with that, and I’ve only had a couple of chances in over a year to work those metaphorical muscles. But I do like the system, and I have read a lot about it; I have a reasonable degree of confidence in my ability to at least get the ball rolling. Now I just need to find some players, and a time to play. So, after going down to NAMI on Monday to see if they have any volunteer opportunities open, that’s next on my list.