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Growing with the game or stagnation?

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Way way back in time, when I was in high school I started playing tabletop RPG's. It was just D&D at that point, unless you want count Magic the Gathering as well. That was pretty much it for quite a while, until college was nearly over and we finally branched out to try Shadow Run.

That was kind of a weird revelation. The hobby store we got our books from was Phantom of the Attic, and it was predominantly for comic books so only the most popular games would show up on its shelves. We were happily playing D&D without it ever occurring to us that there might be other options out there. We were happy with the game, so there was no desire for change. In the last year of college I ran into another gamer and he mentioned playing a futuristic campaign. I hadn't even heard of Spelljammer, so this was a crazy new concept for me.

Anyway, a lot of time has past and despite being clued in to the vast array of games I've never really tried to many of them. I pretty much played D&D exclusively; there were a few single session adventures in Shadowrun and one of the Star Wars games, but that was about as far as I went.

Oddly enough I find myself with more time for such games now than back then. This isn't a huge improvement mind you, I think I've gone from 8 hours to perhaps 9 hours of gaming time during the week. The problem now is that its not as easy for me to get out of the house to play. On the plus side the internet is popular now, so I don't always need to leave my house.

With this new availability to play games I should easily have been able to explore more of whats out there. So let's see, I've pretty much stopped playing Shadowrun and Star Wars now; though I have gotten sort of familiar with War Machine, and I could probably talk about Song of Blades and Heroes and Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle game without looking like an idiot. I guess I've tried a few tabletop strategy games, but have culled the RPG's down to just D&D. There is a Call of Cthulhu play by post game I've signed up for that I'm pretty excited about, that game looks like it has some huge potential.

I don't have any complaints about the limited set of games I play, its just that looking at it makes me feel like I'm stuck in a rut or refusing to leave my comfort zone or something. I've never stopped enjoying playing D&D despite the new additions and all the rule changes, it just seems like the trend is that the longer you play tabletop games your repertoire should increase. It just strikes me as odd that mine hasn't.

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  1. Blond Gamer Girl's Avatar
    As we get older, RL takes up a lot more time. As for stagnation, IMHO system doesn't matter. Many systems fall into the same genre (D&D and Pathfinder) and one plot could fit into either system real easily. It's just taking the time to learn a new set of rules. Me - I'd rather NOT learn a new set of rules but think of more plot twists and complications without the usual fight monster get treasure.

    My philosophy is as long as I'm using more little gray cells, I'm not stagnating.
  2. Q-man's Avatar
    You're probably right, the system isn't bringing a whole lot to the table. Realistically speaking, the group is going of players to bring a lot more fun to the table than the rules can. That said there's a lot of different settings out there. I suppose I was fortunate in may choices that I didn't play game with the same settings.

    It just seems that every gamer I meet has played or is familiar with dozens of different game systems. I doubt I'm missing anything by not knowing too many, I just wonder if there's some exploration I need to do.
  3. templeorder's Avatar
    Really its about why you do it. I can't play WOW or game online because i crave the social interaction of having somebody there. Its just different. I could be playing just about anything if i am a player, but i do sort of lay down the law if i'm a GM (and i only play one system now). Its less about the mechanics and more about setting and story - whatever mechanics work best for that and get in the way least of having fun. If thats a consistent single set, each time, then so be it. If its the same simply out of apathy - throw yourself into a group that uses a system outside your boundaries and see what happens.
  4. Shroudmaster's Avatar
    I know this is an older post and I am not even sure if you feel the same way anymore, but for gamers out there dealing with gamer malaise. Sometimes you just need to upset the cart and broaden your horizons. Try cool games like Little Fears, Alpha & Omega and Mouseguard that change up the genres. Or if you need something closer to home, the fantasy rpg, Shroud of the Ancients, is almost done and they are looking for backers to support the release - .

    Find friends (or stick with friends) that make it fun and take a break from the status quo. That's my two cents.
  5. Q-man's Avatar
    I didn't think anyone would read this far back. Now I kinda feel bad about the huge amount of time since I added anything to this blog.

    As it happens I do feel this way still, and I'm of the opinion that it was more stagnation for me. The trouble is that I don't have a ton of free time to play, so I can't reach beyond the group that I'm in and a few play by post games. The group is in the middle of a D&D campaign right now, and one of the players really dislikes the idea of using different game rules.

    Fortunately the play by post games I'm in are Call of Cthulhu so I am getting a bit of a change of pace there. Moving into another setting has been fantastic! Not only does it let me explore new themes and environments, but its prompted new areas of interest. The Cthulhu concept has really resonated with me and I've been diving into the writings from H. P. Lovecraft that inspired the game. From those I've gotten a ton of new adventure and character ideas to use in future games.

    It was a short trip from Lovecraft to the other stories that shared space with his work in the 1930's pulp magazines. There's a huge collection of fantastic stories that can easily inspire new ideas to use in games. They've also lead me to a huge curiosity in the Savage Worlds rules, that I'm very eager to try. Just reading through the diverse settings available for that game has really stirred up my imagination.

    To wrap up this little monologue, I'm not dissatisfied with D&D or the fantasy genre. I just have a desire to explore new ideas and settings. Each new one I read doesn't just offer a new campaign or story, instead they all introduce new ideas and themes that can cross over to any campaign. I'm of the opinion that tabletop games shouldn't follow patterns or be formulaic, each adventure sure pit the players against decisions that force them to explore their characters. Exploring different settings brought me in contact with a ton of ideas for those sort of situations, and I think that's the inspiration I was really looking for.