October 12, 2022
On Passions – Blogging, Gaming and Life As A Whole
As the public response around COVID began to shift around the end of summer of last year, I suddenly found myself swamped with many of the things that had been absent for nearly a year and a half. My record labelbegan working with bands on releasing new music, repressing old records and booking shows. I started work on a new band (which is now active – we’re called Kindred, the name is actually based on the idea of Kith from Wanderhome). On top of all this, I was dealing with a lot of personal changes, and something had to give.
I ended up having to significantly cut my time spent on RPGs, and tabletop gaming in general. Not just the public facing stuff – I haven’t worked on this blog or even seriously worked on any games for Marshland, the company I had just set up at the time, in almost a year. I hadn’t even had time to play any long-form games. My OD&D table all but fell apart after a ruthless Ghoul transformation of one of the key PCs, and the Wanderhome group I was in stopped getting together after only a handful of sessions.
Fast forward almost a year, and things are just as hectic as ever. I’m still doing like 500 tasks a day for the label and managing/playing in my band has added a whole new layer of work for me to tackle. I started a database for upcoming shows in Delaware, and I became the sole promoter for events at a cool record shop in Wilmington.
All that said, a lot has settled down in other areas. I left my previous job, and started working at a youth homeless shelter, as well as picking up some shifts at a (different from above) record shop near my house. A lot of the personal issues I had been dealing with began to change, and ultimately I’m in a much better place now.
This all leads to my sort of reckoning with tabletop gaming – both personal and public. I think if I’m honest with myself – I simply can’t do a million things at once (though I would like to imagine myself as capable), and I want to make sure I take care of myself. (I have a bad habit of not sleeping or eating.)
I’ve settled with myself that I can still make time to play games, and I definitely intend to keep on designing them. Just the idea of writing new mechanics excites me as much as it did when I first started on my weird path towards game design. I still wish I could play a dozen games a night, and I have about 5 ideas a week of a really neat campaign idea for a game I barely understand the rules for.
But while these things are still very important to me, I just can’t spend 10 hours a day working on dice mechanics or the skills section of character creation. I had to adjust the level of time I could commit, and in doing so adjust the timeframes I was putting onto myself. I had hoped to release multiple games on itch in the past year, and probably even release one of the longer games I’ve been crafting since the start of this blog. Obviously, none of this happened.
Instead, I’ve been taking it slow. I have played in a few short campaigns/one-shots of various games, and settled on a weekly board game night with some friends, including the lovely Joe Kim (Scary Dog Friend) and CJ (Scholastic Dragon) and we engage on utterly ridiculous shenanigans that oftentimes don’t even involve playing games.
My design has been more casual. There might be weeks where I write nothing at all, and then a single night where I stay up scribbling playbooks on index cards and visual sketches pinned to corkboards. I’m sure I’ll finish a game eventually and post it, but it’s not a stressor for me anymore. If I can put up just a game or two this year, I’ll be more than pleased with myself.
Now that we’re caught up to date on the changes within my life – I finally feel like I can explain what I’m working on now, and where I’m looking to take this.
I’ll be trying to post a bit more regularly here. It might not be the most consistent (it never really was, despite my best intentions), but I’ll do my best to keep things simple.
I’m also going to start slowly sharing my notes for various games or ideas I’ve been toying with. A large part of my game design in the last 6-8 months has been creating a homebrew Pokemon RPG system, which I’ve been running a campaign that will probably take multiple years to complete (have I mentioned I tend to bite off more than I can chew?). I have dozens of pages of design notes and rules/addendums that I have nothing else to do with, so expect lots of Pokemon-related things to come.
There’s been a lot of changes, and I’m feeling hopeful about a lot of things. I think this blog, if nothing else, can serve as a nice reflection point for me. Thanks for reading, and I hope you can get some useful information from me for your own life!