“I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
– JRR Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings.
Let’s be honest, 2014 pretty much sucked.
- Games played: 9 (5 of WFRP3, and one each of All Things Zombie, Dogs in the Vineyard, OD&D, Classic Traveller). That’s the worst for a long, long time. Dogs in the Vineyard might even have been my swan song as a GM – hopefully not, but if it was, there are worse ways to bow out.
- Items reviewed: About a dozen. It’s not worth doing a top five this year.
- Figures painted: 0. Well, 10 half-painted. Does that count as five?
- Players in group: 3, dropping to 0. On the plus side, even as the group died, it spawned a Savage Worlds group in Brighton (with Nick as GM) and possibly a Dogs in the Vineyard group in California, so at worst the torch has been handed on.
- Close relatives lost: Too damned many, one way and another, which explains all of the above. I expect it to be well into 2016 before the fallout from all of them is processed.
Outlook for 2015:
- Games played: 14 (10 WFRP3, 3 Savage Worlds, 1 OD&D).
- Items reviewed, figures painted: 0 (because what’s the point).
- Players in group: 0 (2-4 irregulars, probably different ones each session).
- Close relatives lost: No more, hopefully.
- Make a will. Set up a Lasting Power of Attorney. Seriously, people, do these things right now. You cannot imagine the mess you leave behind otherwise. If you’re saying "Yeah, yeah, I’ll get around to it later," remember – you don’t get to choose whether there is a "later".
- I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: GMs, your current group is transient. Keep an eye out for new players to replace the inevitable losses. Mind you, by the mid-2020s, I could be introducing my grandchildren to RPGs, which would be very cool.
- For the foreseeable future, I’ll play more WFRP3 than anything, so maybe I should learn the rules. Pity they’re so complex.
- I’ll still see my old players, a couple at a time, for a few hours every 3-6 months; but if there’s to be any gaming, I need to avoid changing things on them, and finish each adventure within a single session. So, that probably means one-shot adventures for Savage Worlds’ Beasts & Barbarians, using their existing characters; frankly, I could do a lot worse than that.
- Any new gamers I find are most likely to be familiar with The Lord of the Rings (best-selling fantasy or SF book ever, by a country mile), Dungeons & Dragons (outguns all other RPGs put together in terms of player base), or Star Wars (third highest-grossing movie ever, when you adjust for inflation). So any future changes of rules or setting should head in those directions.
- I should set up some sort of solo Savage Worlds game to avoid skills fade on the rules. Maybe carry on with ATZ. Not feeling terribly motivated at the moment, though.
Overall, it looks like I’m heading into a lean time for gaming. That has happened a couple of times before, and each time it lasted 3-5 years. Mind you, the last couple of times there was no gaming at all in those periods, so I’m doing better this time.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. See you on the other side.