My first blog post on the actual Wizards Community board. What can I say?
I used to play RPGs incessantly as a younger man, particularly enjoying the role as game master more than player for any number of weeknight games. However, I fell away from the craft in 2002 when I undertook a mobile job of working with electronic systems. In travelling about the world, getting married and eventually having children, my healthy amount of gaming shrunk down to monthly readings of old modules from AD&D and other non-WotC games.
As fate would have it, I ended up attending GenCon in 2011 to analyze administrative-gamer interaction, strategies and behaviours at the event for academic research and was surprised to learn that even I after years of hiatus was able to understand the games, plots and heroic achievements in the RPG rooms. I recalled Ravenloft, reminisced the Tomb of Horrors and recomposed myself as I walked past the Beholder Statue glaring at my approach. "It's like a bicycle," one gamer commented to me. "Once you ride down K2, you never forget it." True indeed!
Yet like a factural Rip Van Winkle tale, I feel I have awoken in a new generation. When I stopped playing, D&D version 3.5 was all the rave. This was particularly troubling as version 3.0, the paragon of the d20 gaming system, was released only two years prior. Now, with my most recent foray into Game Links, a game store in Fowlerville, Michigan, I see that not only version 3.5 has been surpassed by 4th edition but Essentials has a slightly different flair on its predecessor and even D&D Next is slated for playtest later this month! It's as if the Anarouch finally gained a good rainstorm that eventually flooded the land and turned the sandy wastes into a oceanic resort!
So I am learning. I still enjoy reading and reliving the classics and wish I had a troupe of regulars I could run adventures with. Time is short, however and full of mundane obstacles. Thus far, I can participate vicariously through Youtube posts and friendly conversations about the airport terminals. But as long as the passion still resides in me, I will soon be at the gaming table, interpreting the player-DM dynamic and watching with serendipitous awe time and time again as the stories unfold with the players' help.
Thanks for reading. Keep calm and carry on.