How to break the ice after nearly a year and half?
It’s been about that long since my last post. Sure, I’ve started plenty of posts in that interim period — Black Blade #5 (the conclusion), posts on SHOctober, Solo-a-Module Month, and SGAM, among others — but they were never finished. Will they be? I don’t know!
You see, I spend a great deal of time and effort in trying to figure out what to do with my very limited free time — which usually results in a lot of not doing anything, or at best, a doing lot of research and preparation for “doing something” in place of actually doing the something. Yeah, I’m talking about RPGs, solo play, but that’s not all.
There’s a long list of things — a huge backlog of things — and it’s ever-changing and never-ending. Priorities are always shifting around. New things push onto the list but rarely does anything pop off! Though items might get shuffled to the back of the list — or even forgotten for a time — eventually, the buggers resurface and shuffle something else backwards in the line. Vicious.
It’s frustrating and sometimes I feel like “what’s the point — all I’m going to do is spin my wheels?” I’ll get the notion to start something, it will consume my thoughts, but as I struggle to make time for it, as I push it backwards in the queue when I realize “Oh, I should do this first, to set the stage, of course” or when life’s priorities get in the way of leisure activities, all too often it becomes a frustration more than a relaxation. Diversions and digressions eat up most of my “fun” time.
But, there are the days where hyper-focus takes over. Everything aligns just so, and I get into the thing so intently the universe fades away, time implodes, and things are accomplished! (Note: Today is not really that day.) Even so, when the dust settles, it often doesn’t seem like enough: I could have done more; I should have done more; I should have done this this instead of that; WARNING: Precious time is running out to get on to the next thing in the list…
Casting aside necessities and responsibilities, just looking to my own personal wants of “R & R”, the lineup is ever-un-possible.
I have some form of AD[H?]D — inattentive type — and it’s really pretty painful sometimes to carry around this jambalaya of ideas and hopes and dreams and unbridled enthusiasm without feeling like I possess the ability to prioritize and zero-in on just one thing — to experience it fully and to completion — without being clouded and sullied by the million other things.
But, yeah… I just wanted to check in. I’m still here, living the 2020 quaran-dream and doing stuff: reading RPGs, modules, blogs, fiction, history, etc., occasionally solo playing or playing RPGs with the kids.
Mostly, I’ve been GM’ing on Role Gate in my free time — often in only 2 or 5 minute chunks — which, in large part, has ticked most of the solo and role-playing boxes for me. Role Gate is a play-by-post (or “play-by-chat”) platform that has gained popularity in recent years. It has a pretty booming community and one doesn’t often want for a game for long (particularly if you join their Discord server’s “looking for group/game” channels).
On Role Gate, I can play and/or GM several campaigns at once and it’s all quite manageable. It is a different beast compared to in-person, at the table gaming but it’s not too far distant from solitaire play, particularly if you’re not adverse to playing from your phone or computer.
The biggest difference versus solo play, obviously, is other people: you don’t have to rely only on yourself (or randomization) to play. You can choose whether you want to referee a game or be a player. Where it’s most similar is in the narrative-rich environment — heavy mechanics or grid-based systems can get in the way and often require use of some external tool for sharing maps, etc.. Theater of the mind, narrative-focused games are where it’s at, even if you want to play 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons — but don’t expect a ton of combat.
One thing to keep in mind (you can decide if it’s a plus or a minus) is: what might take hours at the table with a group or even in solo, will likely take weeks or months in play-by-post as players pop in, reply, duck out, and then wait. It’s handy for a “downtime” activity, passing a few minutes here and there throughout the day, especially in place of thumbing through social media or whatever other time-waster you usually engage in.
One downside is that games can have a tendency to fizzle out after a few initial weeks of enthusiasm, but if you’re patient and persistent, you’ll make acquaintances who are reliable and equally patient and persistent, and then you’re set. I have two games now that I’ve been refereeing which have lasted over a year, and I have also successfully run several “fast paced” games that intentionally expire after a few weeks. It’s a good mix.
Check it out, if it sounds like your cup of tea. Feel free to look me (or my games) up on Role Gate (wispsoftime ) or Discord (wispsoftime#6853)!
Anyway … what’s next, if anything, for Wisps of Time? Good question. Fair question. The answer is: “no plans“. I want to do more with the blog. I want to do more writing and creating and sharing with you great folks. Unfortunately, I’m inconsistent and unreliable. I’m great at starting things but poor at finishing them. I’m working on getting better — always, of course — but the best I can do for now is “wait and see“.
I’ll trouble you no further today, but I do hope all is well for you and yours in this crazy, turbulent year the world is enduring. Here’s to a brighter day, and, in the meantime, the much-needed escape of role-playing.