All posts in RPGs

An Embarrassment of Riches

I may have mentioned this before, but there are too many things. And by “things” I mean books, video games, movies, TV shows, board games, songs, apps, and any other media one might experience. Right now, today, there are probably more things that I’d like to have a look at than I have time remaining in my life to do so. And tomorrow, someone will add even more.

I don’t like to leave things unfinished, no loose ends. But now I have this frayed blanket of partially read books, half-watched shows, unfinished video games, barely messed with apps, and board games still in shrink wrap. At one point these things were rare and hard won. As a child I created an impromptu garage sale to fund the purchase of the BattleTech board game, shutting the sale down the moment I could afford to buy. And then I played BattleTech for ages. Now everything is so easy to obtain, effortlessly plucked from the ether. But I feel like it takes a greater force of will to slow down and appreciate a single thing, knowing there are thousands more awaiting my attention. It is like touring the Louvre in a formula one race car.

I’ve decided I need to shift my perception of all this media, or at least to try. I’m trying to see it as another planetary ecosystem, something vast andĀ ever present. In the same way that I do not need to play with every breed of dog on the planet, I do not need to play every game. If I see one I like, I will pet it and enjoy that moment. I’m really happy just knowing that all those things are out there and that sometimes my path will intersect with some of them.

Origins of The Stork

When I went to see Pixar’s WALL-E, there was an animated short called Partly Cloudy before the film. It had to do with a stork who got stuck with delivering really challenging packages. It got me thinking of some shadowy agency which employed people called Storks to deliver metaphorical packages to people. Perhaps this guy shows up on your doorstep with a lost memory from childhood.

Then I thought maybe I could make a role playing game out of it. The players would play characters in this agency delivering packages as a way of working off a debt, kind of like the reapers in Dead Like Me.

But then it occurred to me it might be more interesting if it were a live action game like Killer or Capture the Flag, where teams of people had to make sure a package got delivered to its destination.

I’m not sure how it happened, but when I sat down to write down some notes for the rules to this potential game, I instead wrote the manual that became The Stork. It was one of those rare pieces of writing that I transcribe more than write. It just flowed out, almost fully formed. I made some tweaks to it, but the first draft ended up being really good as is.

Some part of me wants to create these shared experiences, these abstract dreamlike ideas. I’ve found the best way to communicate them is to squeeze them into the shape of a story or a game. The structure is just a handle or a frame, a label so that other people can (hopefully) understand what I’m trying to tell them.

Find out more about The Stork at Kickstarter

Restless Again

Feeling restless again. Creatively aimless. I feel like I need more of a long range goal, but I haven’t been really inspired to move in any particular direction.

Have an idea for a story game. Might sketch it out so it stops scratching my brain. But that would just be a stopgap.

Gamers Help Haiti

It’s almost impossible not to donate to the relief efforts in Haiti. I don’t even mean from a social responsibility standpoint. Ways to donate are just everywhere, so I end up sending money without even trying. At the grocery store, at the meetup group and the most irresistible avenue: games. $20 at drivethrurpg.com was magically changed into $40 for Doctors Without Borders and $1400 worth of PDF role-playing games and supplements. I barely even know what I bought. The offer was too compelling to ignore.