Hygge and Hiraeth

Posted: 7 January 2017 in Reflections

What lessons, then, from 2016?

Lesson 1: Hygge

Hygge is Danish from Norwegian and is used to mean a feeling of cosy intimacy and contentment.

What I want from roleplaying these days is hygge; fun with friends around a table, and anything that doesn’t support that is a distraction to be discarded, displacement activity which occurs because I’m not playing the game I want to play. Ideally the table is a physical one, but a virtual online table is a reasonable substitute, though not quite as good.

I keep returning to this point, not as if driving in a circle, but as if descending a spiral staircase, with a deeper understanding of it each time.

Lesson 2: Hiraeth

Hiraeth is a Welsh word, referring to a sense of grief and longing for a lost home to which you can never return, possibly because it never really existed.

I confess to a wistful longing for some games and settings which I don’t expect to revisit. For example, rarely has a purchase brought me such joy as did the PDFs of RuneQuest and Original Dungeons & Dragons which reappeared this year, but I can’t see myself running either of them again.

Lesson 3: Enough with the Negative Waves

I am always pessimistic about being able to find a new group when a campaign ends, but this is not justified as something always turns up, witness the Savage 13th Age campaign currently in flight.

Lesson 4: Bring Your “A” Game

The WFRP3 group I play in were looking for their next game over the summer, and pounced on Edge of the Empire with surprising enthusiasm. That scuppers my plan to ease them into a Savage Worlds space opera from Beasts & Barbarians; had I grasped the depth of their shared love for Star Wars, I would have started by offering that. So know your audience, and bring your intended campaign to the table from the outset, even if it isn’t ready to run and you have to wing it for the first few sessions.

“Many Bothans died to bring us this information.”


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