Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Dungeon Hobby as Work vs Play

Firstly, never give feet pics for free. Is what I'm told.

But if you're just a hobbyist, like me, and you haven't incorporated the "hustle and grind" mindset which permeates everything in the US these days, give everything else away for free. Fight and resist capitalism. Don't let the shareholders drive policy or artistic decisions. The teachers and bosses and censors are explicitly out of the playroom. The simple joy of sharing fun ideas, of receiving feedback and enthusiasm, this is what will sustain our hobby in the long run. I see a couple of things that make me nervous - aside from the rising geopolitical tensions we all feel! - the first being the OGL-nonsense that WoTC is pulling, which is so hilariously sinister it's like comic-book villainy,

and the second is this #dungeon23 thing.

Listen, man, it's your old Uncle Noah Lebowski, resident beatnik and Maynard Krebs/Norville "Shaggy" Rogers clone. Don't let The Man get into your play time. Resist that urge to turn everything into a struggle for improvement, to turn your play into self-development, as if you're not perfect the way you are. You are not missing out if you don't choose to participate.

I'm all behind conscientious and mindful practice, but let's recognize that doing this sort of thing is what drives a lot of people OUT of art, of music, of writing, of poetry. Doing a thing that ought to be joyous when you're not at ease and relaxed and interested will drive the happiness out of it. I think McCoy, in his original post, was sort of signaling a little strangely about shipping things out the door, about a subtle thread of commodification. I can't tell you how dismaying it was for me to see the collapse of Google Plus into whatever it became at the end - a monetization platform where Kickstarter links got shared and shelfies were the mark of your engagement in the hobby. What did you just buy? I don't give a fuck. What did you think about it? THATS what I want, that sweet, sweet brain juice so that I can steal it and stick it in my brain juice and we can drink of each other's sweet sweet brain punch.

So, take part in Dungeon23, and Crom Bless You. Listen to the Lamentations of Their Women. That's great. Don't do it as an obligation, PLEASE, do it as play and exploration and share your cool ideas. Keep in mind that your hobby ought to be a surcease from toil, not a reason to grind yourself down or improve yourself. I am still coming to grips with this - American culture is always going to tell you that you are not as good as you could be and that you'd be happier if you only worked harder. As a therapist, I do not argue with mindful practice, but I DO argue with motivations and the unhealthy patterns of thinking that drive some of these things.

I have to think about #dungeon23 more clearly but as a parent, a self-employed professional, and a person who does about 20 different things to ease the existential pain of life on Earth, i've already got about a million half-done projects and I'm leery of taking on more and would never do so to keep up with the joneses. Would my participation in the TTRPG hobby community be of higher quality if only I kept at it every day? I'm dubious - I do it when the mood strikes me and I'm inspired and want to share. It's play for me and when it feels like work, I haul ass.

Mars and Bellona keep you, and don't trust anyone over 30

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