02 August 2006

Past Campaigns, Preface

I've been giving some thought to reviewing my old campaigns here. Most of these old games have been veiled in the mists of time, and many involved players that I rarely see these days, if ever.


I don't know. Catharsis, I suppose. Analytical reflection, or maybe just reminiscence. It's good for something, isn't it? At least on a personal level?

There's an old gamer saying that goes along the lines of:

"Don't tell me about your character/campaign/etc."

I can totally understand where this phrase comes from, because it's often more interesting to tell your own stories than to listen to someone else's. Discussing old games isn't like having group therapy, unless everyone cries. Plus, humans are selfish. We like the limelight, and are easily bored if deprived of it.

It can be uncomfortable to be cornered by someone who is obviously enthusiastic, and who has a lot to say on several different topics. You don't want to offend anyone by begging off, but by the same token, you'd rather pound red hot ingots into your eye sockets than listen to anecdotes that have no relation to you, or that are so far from your idea of interesting discourse that you have trouble keeping a straight face.

It's a cold truth, one that few people admit to. While I do enjoy discussing games, characters, and campaigns with folks in passing, I have less of an interest in specifics and minutae. These are generally stories of the "you had to be there" variety. They lose much of their punch when recounted to strangers ten years later.

It comes down to taste, I think. Not all gamers share the same ideas about what is cool and what isn't. Tom's mini-maxed 28th level half-Drow rogue named Marius Dwarfbane Skinslitter, who dropped Driz'zt in the first two rounds of combat and single-handedly stole Tiamat's chastity belt, is probably a lot more interesting to Tom than he is to anyone else (except, possibly, for the other folks who played in the same campaign).

Like I said, I enjoy talking about the games I've played, but I also understand that what interested me about this game or that character might not carry the same entertaining weight with anyone else. I try to keep my descriptions brief. If someone asks me to expand upon something, I will, but such curiosity is rare. In fact, I can't think of a single instance of someone telling me, "Wow, that sounds like it was fun. What happened after your character fell out of the airplane?"

When their eyes glaze over, you've lost them.

So, back to the topic at hand: past campaigns. I'll be dredging up a few of my old campaigns and characters here, and in turn, I'll be breaking the "Don't tell me about your..." rule. The difference is that you can read the post, or you can click a link and go surfing for entertainment elsewhere.

I won't be doing this every single day, mind you. It will only happen when I feel like it. The rest of the time, it will be the same self-absorbed stuff that you're used to. Heck, if you're reading this blog, you're probably at least a little voyeuristic, anyway. If you like looking into other people lives and minds via their blogs, then you probably won't mind.

So that's the preface. Think of it as a statement of intent.

No comments: