Thursday, April 30, 2015

10 Years Gone



Lowell Francis at Age of Ravens poses a great little thought exercise in his latest post:

What were you running/playing ten years ago? What systems have come and gone for your group?

Ten years ago I was coming off several years of pretty grim gaming. I hardly gamed at all from late 2000 to early 2003, and although I'd been seeing a sharp uptick in my gaming from that point forward, it was still proving difficult to sustain anything beyond a handful of sessions.

In 2005, I relocated from Los Angeles to San Francisco and resolved to use the occasion to make something of a fresh start with my gaming. The move (and resolution) didn't happen until September of that year, though. I'm pretty sure that around this time specifically 10 years ago, I was still stuck in the old patterns, attempting to run a d20 Iron Kingdoms campaign for my old high school/college group. I hadn't yet realized that I hated d20, and was experiencing quite a bit of dissonance between the absolutely awesome material that was in the Iron Kingdoms books and what was coming out at the table.

When that "campaign" failed after one or two sessions, the next thing I remember running is Hackmaster. We actually had a total blast with that system, and it carried us through to my leaving L.A. at the end of summer. It was a great way to cap off what had been over a decade of gaming with the same guys, since there were so many callbacks to the wonderful excesses 1e and 2e AD&D in those rules, and it was a wonderful tonic following several years of banging our heads against the d20/3.x wall.

As I mentioned above, my move up to San Francisco precipitated some serious thinking about how to achieve more satisfying gaming. Virtual tabletops were just getting started around that time (anyone remember OpenRPG?), and eventually in 2006 I would start things back up with my L.A. group via chat games. We tried to carry on with Hackmaster, but soon switched to a little game I'd had on my shelf for a long time and finally wanted to get around to running: Pendragon. But that wouldn't happen until 2006...

Looking back, I really see 2005 as a juncture between the end of sort of (often frustrating) gaming I did as a teenager and young adult and the beginning of the largely successful and satisfying gaming I enjoy today as a grown-ass man. I'm happy that I still manage to game with the people who were in my life at the time (2005 was also the year I introduced my then-girlfriend, now-wife to RPGs and miniatures gaming), and that I've added yet more awesome people to my circles. It's also interesting to reflect that, with the exception of Call of Cthulhu, I'm not playing any of the games now that I was playing then.
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