Saturday, April 26, 2014

Growing Up and Changing the Way I Game

I am experiencing a thing.  I think maybe I'm playing RPGs like the boy I was, instead of like the man I am.  I don't know what to do about it.  I recognize at the moment that I am wistfully scribbling and toying with some ideas that appeal to me almost solely out of a misbegotten nostalgia for something that's dead and done. Dead and done back in like 1987 and then drawn out like weak butter into 1995.  I'm doing something because (at the moment) it's a framework for tension release and learning and vapid creativity, and I care about it because it's something I wish I could have done when I was like 12 or so...  It's ridiculous - I throw in references to old TV shows and games I played or wished I'd played.  Things I think you'll get, or hope you will, whoever you are, reader who probably already thinks a lot like I think.

But the next things I write and do and play (after I'm done with this one thing at the moment), if they are to be meaningful, they are going to require some introspection and growth and the unlocking of something else. To do that I need to unfetter my brain with the zip-ties of the 1980s and let my inner child and my current me cooperate instead of using my 12 year old self as a way to get out of the reality I'm in...  Things I kind of address in my humdrum non-Wizard/non-Knight existence, but don't make a good deal of headway are:

  • Inequality.  The vast gap between me and my wife and kid and Sam Walton.
  • What my kid's world is going to look like when she is having kids, or whatever it is she's doing then
  • The struggle of the working class and the impoverished.  Do you realize that adventurers are the worst sort of untrained underclass, doing the King's dirty work for him, and finding wealth and redistributing it in the most crude and stupid fashion?  Don't roll your eyes at me, manthing
  • Environmental degradation
  • Poverty.  All you have to do to experience the LLC existence that is the funnel is roll a couple of the old fashioned way.  Man, rag-picking and rat-catching are shit jobs.  Of course you would want to die on the end of a Goblin's badly made hammer.  If that's not an analogy for the middle class being destroyed by cheap 3rd world labor then I don't know what it is.
  • Mental health, the medicalization of crime, the criminalization of poverty
  • Injustice.  They just let a guy out of death row in Japan after 45 years.  Stories like that all the MF time.
  • Censorship of ideas and voices.  Criminalization of those who infringe upon corporate "rights"  (Aaron Schwartz!)
  • Groupthink.  I watch this shit happen every day.  It's awful.  When you point out it's happening, the hivemind turns on you.  Nobody wants to hear that shit, man.  Trust me.  Doesn't mean you oughtn't say it if you see it.
  • The militarization of the police.  Drones, swat tanks, genetic testing of random people at impromptu stops.  I pulled up on a sobriety check point at 7:55 this evening.  I think every squad car in the county was there.  Dogs, Blues and Reds, big burly guys and gals in fluorescent vests.  I had nothing to fear - stone cold sober and a law abiding citizen but I still felt a little uneasy.  I think they are probably trying to intercept the drug deals going down in the parking lot of the local grocery store, but, I mean is a little pot worth all this effort?  I don't know.  God Bless the Police and those who keep us safe and whatnot.
  • the use of debt to quell unrest.  The elimination of (at least in the US) of education as a means to rise in the ranks of society.  I can't take a stand!  They got me for a house-worth of money and no way to pay it back, ever!
  • corruption of our public offices.  This fucking guy Yee.  I mean, come on.  He's a gun dealer; he's simultaneously pushing for gun reforms and restriction. When I say "gun dealer" I don't mean the good honest kind; I mean the kind that sells guns to bad guys.  He's in the pocket of mobsters.  Actually, I trust mobsters more than corporations.  You could technically shoot a mobster or lock him up whereas that's not possible with a corporation. 
  • the drain of our commonwealth by corporations and banks.  The death of capitalism is going to be when all the public funds are dumped into 401Ks and shit and then the fuckers just raid them to line their own pockets.  It's already happened!  Where did all the money go for infrastructure?  It's all been sucked up my hedge fund managers!
  • The gradual ridiculous reduction in public fora as media for discourse and reasonable reflection of ideas and discussion.  A guy said the other day he didn't like politics stuff showing up in his feed owing to all the bad vibes that came with it.  But why?  How did we get taught within the past 25 years of internetting that discussion and even argument is negative, or that it equals animosity?  For some people, it does, sure - those people are welcome to bark from the sidelines but I hope if you don't agree with something you see here that fuck it, you'll at least think about it and stick around for the value of the ideas and their presentation if nothing else.
Up 'til now I've been thinking of RPGs as a way to escape my dreary worldview but if any of it will have any value to me going forward, it will only come with serious examination of the way I think a  number of things and hashing out the details.  If I keep seeing RPGs as an escape from the world, then I'm doing it like a child would do it.  RPGs and the OSR are as valid a way to express ideas as any other, if the issues are approached correctly.  I'm going to figure out how and maybe put out some OSR scenarios 

If you don't dig the politics then I hope at least the stuff will be playable and usable in games.

Let me know if I'm way off base.

NOW - back to the home stretch of my solo DCC module project

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