Posts Tagged ‘Toronto Area Gamers’

Day 267: Is anyone out there?

April 20, 2010

I’ll soon be posting a link to my new website, but more importantly I’m trying to engage more with Toronto gamers.

Does anyone still follow the blog?  Do you want to play?

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Day 100: The Bitter End.

November 4, 2009

Well, here we are, 100 days. This is a bitter pill for me; I had goals and hopes for a new project, and frankly, most of them didn’t work out, and while most of that wasn’t within my control, I know I made several crucial mistakes. Tag’s Folly was supposed to be a way for me to game more frequently and meet new people, provide gamers in Toronto with something they wanted, and prove that I could take on a big project on top of everything else that I do.

What follows is my postmortem.

What worked:

  1. The daily blogging schedule.
  2. Meeting new gamers.
  3. Getting more games in.

What didn’t work:

  1. I had the impression that there was a big pent-up demand for D&D 4e GMing; as it turned out there was … a little, and with a bunch of work you could get a group together.  But it wasn’t easy, as I’d hoped it would be, and that meant it took a long time for any of the organizers that did step up to schedule a session.
  2. I  didn’t get the rush of enthusiasm I was hoping for; everyone who organized sessions – and I appreciate their work – expressed that wasn’t really that much fun compared to how hard it was to get people together.  In some cases that meant straight drop-offs, leaving me with the task of “selling” the game to people to find organizers.
  3. The 4e ruleset, played by the book and prepped in advance is not conducive to a low-key campaign, and thus the 4e game would never be a self-sustaining organism.
  4. GTA transit kind of sucks; people just can’t get around, and when I run a game and have to spend 2 hours getting home, it hurts pretty bad.
  5. Real life threw me a few curveballs, particularly on the family and work side, and that derailed me pretty seriously.  Of course I set out on this trajectory when things were looking up, and when things got turbulent, and then outright sucktacular, I had to rein something in.  Unfortunately by the time that happened, the 4e campaign was the only thing in my life that I could really rein in.

What I learned:

  1. D&D is a game for people with basements, cars, and a lot more spare time than I have.
  2. When you get your name out there for running a game like this, all your old gamer friends remember you and start inviting you to their games.  You can quickly become a victim of your own success.
  3. A general appraisal of risks is a good idea even for personal projects.
  4. I hate prep that doesn’t get into a session right away.
  5. 4th edition is a better drill and a worse omnitool than previous editions.   It’s much harder to get it to do something different without hacking the rules, and the rules are much harder to hack.
  6. West Marches games are social monsters; there are a lot of uncharted social waters that you wade into and unless you’re a real extrovert, it will be stressful to run them.  This goes doubly for strangers.

Day 83: Health & Hiatus

October 18, 2009

In the last month I’ve had some health and family issues come up at the same time. I didn’t want them to affect my gaming, but they’ve become serious and I have to put my family first, my health second, and gaming somewhere after.

I’m putting the Tag’s Folly 4e D&D game on an indefinite hiatus; I can’t say when or if I’ll be running it again.

I’m really, really sorry to have to do this.  I wanted to meet and provide GMing for gamers in Toronto, and I’m sorry that I can’t.

If anyone wants to GM in the world of Tag’s Folly, I’d be happy to give everything I’ve got done (which boils down to my blog, the encounter envelopes, and parts in my brain) and answer any questions.  I’ll let the canned items in the blog run out, which will take me to around post #100.

The game just needs more than I can give right now.

Day 77: TAG Drama

October 12, 2009

Sandy got mad.

Sandy realized he posted in haste.

Sandy felt better.

Sandy had to cancel on In A Wicked Age.

Ryan got mad.

Ryan got to play In A Wicked Age anyway.

Ryan felt better.

What’s the lesson here?  Don’t post while angry.  Both Sandy and I already know this, but did we do it? Nope.

Did I act any smarter because Sandy had just gone through the same thing?  Nope.

People criticize the Dalai Lama for talking about things like “be nice to people” and “practice compassion in your daily life.”  People complain that this kind of stuff is in any Sunday school pamphlet, or the boy scout handbook.  People complain that such a highly focusing figure is telling us stuff we’ve heard before.

But clearly, we still need to hear it.  Can you really say we’ve all got the whole basic “be nice to people” thing down cold?  Are you as caring, responsible, clear-headed, and generous as you could be?  Are you resilient against things that bother you – can you stay caring, responsible, clear-headed, and generous when you’re having a bad day, or when someone is yelling at you? I do what I can, but I definitely could be better.  I really don’t see those qualities reflected in the media or the people we give power to.

The Dalai Lama keeps talking about the same stuff because he recognizes that we all could stand to work on the basics.

The moral of this story is: We’re human, we make mistakes, we pick up and try to do better.  Meanwhile, we’ll keep practicing the basics.

Day 72: The Three Ways

October 7, 2009

I have three ways I play.

1) Follow my lead

In Follow my Lead play, one player – always the GM – is the author of the game’s story, and the players take roles within that story.

2) Story Now

Story Now is live fiction, like live music.  The point of Story Now is to create the fiction at the table, and puts all the players in the position of author, actor, and audience at the same time.  Story Now is an incredibly complex topic with a mind-boggling diversity of play experiences that can be had.

3) Step on up

Step on up games are about overcoming challenge and playing to win.  Many step-on-up games are competitive amongst the players, with the GM acting as a referee.  The other step-on-up model is where the GM sets up a world full of challenges – like an amusement park on steroids – and the players go about choosing challenges and using their skills to defeat those challenges.  In that context the GM crucially provides consistency, and danger is not an illusion.  4th edition Tag’s Folly is a Step on up game of the latter variety.