It feels like, as the year comes to an end, so does my ever-lengthening sine wave of high interest in roleplaying stuff. It’s been a good year! Lots of excellent games. And now I can feel it backing down, cooling off, losing urgency.
There’s some restlessness with it, too. Maybe it’s a matter of habit more than passion? It’s Tuesday, time to tell stories! Even as we wrap up Urban Shadows and chew on my Fall of Magic experience, I’m poking at a to-play-next list (currently it is: Edge of the Empire, The Clay That Woke, Ryuutama in no particular order), but I’m just kind of poking. No enthusiasm.
I think there’s some of that happening with my players as well. Now that we’ve been gone from Urban Shadows for three or four weeks, everyone’s had a chance to chew on the experience and decided they’re not going to miss it if we don’t play it again — specifically, if we don’t return to this particular setup.
Pretty sure I’m not alone in feeding off the enthusiasm of the players, right? And it’s not like any of them disliked the game. But they all recognized where we’d screwed up the setup: two of the three characters being fish out of water rather than deeply entrenched in the locality, one of the players joining only after a couple sessions and having his situation retrofitted to the rest of the storyline. At least two of the players growing dissatisfied with the sense that they’re constantly reacting to crises rather than proactively pursuing agendas. That last one is so very interesting, very enlightening. They say that even as they acknowledge that they really really like the storyline and situation. If they were watching a TV show, they’d be hooked. But they want to play from a position of stronger character advocacy, rather than story advocacy.
(Side note, I can get into it in another thread: I’ve always been kind of ¯\(ツ)/¯ about the term “storygame,” like it’s such a big and inclusive bucket that it doesn’t actually describe anything. So in my brain I’ve been chewing on slightly more precise terms of art, stuff like authorgame and actorgame and whatnot. It’s got legs but it’s also yet another excuse for gamers to hate on each other.)
So, anyway. The sine wave grows long and I feel our collective interest lulling. Probably we’ll play boards games. Hell, an evening of heated Pitchcar rounds might even be fun.
Maybe I’ll get more serious about putting out a couple of my more elaborate designs for public consumption. If everyone secretly has a novel inside them, I think roleplayers (who spend too much (?) time in online communities, and/or rush from system to system, and/or can’t help but fixate on rules and Why They Fail To Deliver What Was Promised) all have a game design inside them.
(No, you’re describing yourself.)