Saturday, September 17, 2011

Settling Down... and Opening Up

So it took a few months, but I finally landed a new job in my new home, which is also my old home: Omaha, Nebraska, the city where I was born. So long to Indiana, my home of twenty(!) years, for I cease this day to be a Hoosier and once more take up the mantle of Husker. (Not that you'll ever catch this dicing, DMing dork dead with a football in hand, of course.)

So now I've got a new job, a new home, and best of all, I’ve been joined here in the Cornhusker state by my darling fiancée, Sarah—who happens to be a fellow nerd, a total gamer-girl and guru of sci-fi television, and on top of it all she writes the Can of Wormholes blog. (Check it out.)

So anyway...

As you can see, the ol' blog has a new name. Ludandi Gratia no more, for a couple of reasons. For one, the Latin blog name just isn't memorable. For another, the meaning of the phrase ("for the sake of gaming") is no longer really applicable. I don't want to blog about just gaming here. I've got other topics to rave about. Everything from fantasy and sci-fi to rationalism and real science, alongside my continuing love of linguistics and philology and early English literature.

And maybe the occasional political rant, although I'll try to keep a lid on that when possible.
"Playing Dice with the Universe": that's the new blog title. It's an Einstein reference, a Farscape reference, and hey, dice, so it's got gaming covered too. If I'm going to cross science, sci-fi, and gaming, that's about as good as a title can get, isn't it?

Anyway, sticking with just gaming for the moment, let me point out that I've continued to play old-school D&D these past few months, even as I've been too busy to blog. The E&E game that I began with my brother and his bros continues apace. But I've also learned from playing this game (which started out as an entire campaign centered around a single proverbial mega-dungeon) that I'm really, really not an OSR guy anymore.

I mean, don't get me wrong: I'm not going to run out and buy a bunch of 4th edition books, or start playing 3rd edition again (as if). It's just that... well, playing mega-dungeons in swords-and-sorcery and John Carter of Mars style campaigns just really isn't my thing. I don't belong in that crowd. In fact, I've come to discover that there's a whole list of things that I don't like very much:
  • Advanced D&D, of any edition, 1st through 4th, although 2nd is bearable if most of the "advanced-isms" are left out.
  • Basic D&D (or a stripped-down 2e) when the objective is just to play a bunch of dungeon-crawls. Paradoxically, dungeon-crawls happen to be what Basic D&D does best.
  • Long dungeon-crawls in general (and the same goes for hex-crawls).
  • Sandbox games with no particular plot.
  • Modules (I still don't really care to have my prep-work done for me).
  • Any game based on pulp fantasy (like Howard or Lovecraft or Burroughs).
I'm afraid that I need to stick to my plot-heavy, kind of railroady, melodramatic JRPG-knockoff type games. And the best way to do that will be to abandon D&D altogether for the nonce. (More on that subject very soon.) Even a relatively light and quick edition (like B/X), even capped off with Epic Six, just doesn't quite fit what I've discovered to be my preferred play-style. I'll talk about it in more detail tomorrow.

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