I was thinking recently about how this blog has been around for five years. I think I’ve said so many of the things I’ve wanted to say that it has become harder to find good philosophical posts. There’s only so many times you can get into what makes for more fun or less fun when playing a RPG, you can get into how badly CCGs need to remove cards rather than add cards after a certain point, or whatever.
While about as uninteresting a topic I could write about, still in the arena of time, I have spent a lot of time thinking about how we were going to (and did) spend a year of real world time playing four months of in game time in our online L5R home campaign.
Well, I should be a bit clearer. The uninteresting part isn’t the nature of the difference between in game and out of game time, but, rather, I was thinking of talking about my character in that campaign, and people talking about their characters to people who don’t play in the same campaign are inflicting violations of the Geneva Convention.
So, I’ll summarize and try to move on to something not so painful.
For, you see, this character was first played in the session where we arrived at Winter Court, which was on April 6th, 2013, and our last session, on April 19th, 2014, was our last session at Winter Court. In that time, just in terms of mechanics, he gained:
- Three Insight Ranks
- Two Honor Ranks
- Nine Glory Ranks
- Five Status Ranks
I could go on, but I think those stats have a lot more meaning … to those who know the L5R RPG.
Meaning. There’s something that I could try to speak to but lack anything profound to say about how RPG campaigns mark the passage of time. I definitely want to avoid going into XP – starting and rate of advancement. Talked enough about those recently. There’s always been the feature of RPGs that PCs advance ludicrously fast compared to what is realistic (for the mechanics), but everyone knows this.
One of the reasons I wanted to have each session of my Gaki Mura campaign to be a month of in world time was to give a more realistic stretch of time for things to develop. Of course, a key part of that was construction of the village.
One aspect of time with RPG campaigns is that more sessions leads to more experiences which leads to more narrative. Obvious? Of course. But, I haven’t played a lot of long term campaigns. I’ve been involved in a lot of campaigns that started and quickly folded. Well, compared to some players, not even “a lot” is true. Not only do I have a number of story experiences for my character, because of some of them (really more because one led to another which led to another), I have more advancements in mind to purchase for my character than when I created him! (I also have the same advancement item at the top of my list from before I played him to today!!)
An interesting development of this year long Winter was how the other players got far, far more interested in what was going on with the NPCs only in the last few sessions. So many of the recent activities and efforts were the sort that we could have expected to begin Winter Court with. This ties into my various posts on being on the same page, including the one from March 2009. Clearer communication of expectations would have likely changed the party approach.
With regards to RPG experiences (rather than experience points) and with regards to changing activities, I routinely find that my PCs radically shift priorities. An extreme example is my HoR3 character who was intended to turbo to IR-3 who will now never rise above IR-1, but that was due to factors that don’t typically exist. My Conan character picked up interests in animal handling and theology and probably a few other things I forgot. I see this being a good thing. Characters should never come into existence complete, even if that’s the way I felt when I created my second Saturday campaign character. If the character doesn’t evolve, that just suggests nothing the character did mattered. I suppose there’s an interesting topic of tying thematics and mechanics together when it comes to advancement. Shoot, should have thought of this earlier, then I’d have something interesting to say. I’ll see if I can think of what to write on this topic later this week.
Speaking of time, V:TES marks its 20th year this year. Having a storyline to mark the anniversary is good. That the storyline has no bite is … bad. I used to be hugely into storylines because of the illusion that what I did mattered. Also, because of variant rules that allowed for a lot of metagame thought. This storyline lacks the latter, but the real problem is that it lacks the illusion that results matter.
Nobody is keeping track of clan wins. Why should they? It’s not like you can gift some clan with a special card or promo like you could in the past. Sure, more e-cards can be published, but I don’t care about any of them nor do I think a lot of others care about them who still play. Okay, I win a table and get the privilege of playing with some crypt card. Well, without rigorous tracking, why even bother worrying about whether someone wins a table? What sort of privilege is it when you don’t care about the crypt card and don’t really see the point in taking advantage of your advantage over the losers who didn’t win a table?
Speaking of V:TES and time, I’ve spent virtually no time on V:TES in the last month or so and little since we got back from the SoCal tournaments over President’s Weekend. That is probably not a shock, given how little I’ve talked about V:TES in this blog since then.
Rambling back to RPGs and time, there haven’t been terribly interesting discussions in a while on the L5R RPG subforum. Relatively more of the discussion has seemed to go to homebrew mechanics. The problem with house rules is, ultimately, … time. Sure, balance is always a problem, with unintended consequences happening all of the time. But, those are fixable, when you have the time. It’s figuring out what is worth the effort to change in the first place that I lack the patience for.
Why? Why does it require patience when you already know changes you would like to make?
I’d like to remove grappling from L5R. I’d like to change Honor Roll mechanics, repoint Luck and maybe some other ads/disads. I’d like to add skill masteries to not punish people who want to be known for a particular skill. And, so on.
And, so on. And, so forth. This is the problem with house rules. Well, the first problem with house rules is getting buy in from the group. But, the slippery slope of stopping at a good point with “fixes” generally involves a time sink of figuring out where to drive the pitons in.
I’m not inclined to create L5R 3.75, even if the group would go for it. I’d like to spend my time playing (or will have committed my time to running).
Just to avoid droning on about L5R, I’m not inclined to make much of an effort to get a game going of something else because of time. I know L5R. While I may be intrigued by Qin and now own Yggdrasill, it would take time to build a campaign of either, and that’s if I can get someone else to run. If I’m running something, as lazy as I can get about doing key GM duties, I still feel time-screwed.
Anyway, I’ve probably wasted enough of the reader’s time. My hope is to have more interesting things to say about gaming as year six of this blog continues. Or, maybe, I’ll just find some classic posts and regurgitate my “interesting” things from yesteryear.